Colder weather brings heating dangers

With temperatures dropping in the 20's Sunday night it might be time to bring out the heavy blankets and extra heaters. But there are a few things you should check in your home before you turn up the furnace.

The shelves are emptying out at Lowe's Hardware on Lee Highway.

"The first cold snap we had, heating sales picked up here in the last couple weeks," says John Rice, a department manager with Lowe's.

"We've sold quite a few of our fireplaces. Our top sellers we have now are space heaters and quartz heaters," adds Rice.

The National Fire Protection Association says space heaters cause four out of five home heating fire deaths. Rice tells us if you're going to use a space heater use one with a grate in front to prevent children from getting burned.

The screen can help prevent children from sticking their fingers inside and it prevents other objects from getting too close to the heat.

Bristol, Virginia Fire Department Lieutenant Richard Thompson tells us heaters need space, "Move any combustible material paper, furniture clothing anything boxes move it at least three feet away from the heater itself."

He says that rule also applies to wall or floor vents of electrical units, "They're never totally off, even if you turn it where it says it might be off or down, that unit is still on and can come on. The best way to do it is to shut it off at the breaker box."

Gas fueled heaters have their own dangers, they produce carbon monoxide. Thompson says, "We need to keep those areas ventilated we do see problems with carbon dioxide poisoning in the wintertime."

Thompson says to put a carbon monoxide detector alongside all smoke detectors in the home. He tells me it's important to look over and clean all heating units before you use them, this includes chimneys.

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