City of Elmira fire marshal shares furnace fire prevention tips

Local News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – As the temperatures cool down more people are turning on their furnaces, which can be dangerous if not done properly. 

It’s that time of year again where one of the most important things to check, before winter hits, is your furnace. According to fire marshal Richard Keyes, furnaces account for the second leading cause of all house fires, right after cooking fires. Especially portable heaters.  

He shares some tips you can do as a preventative measure to keep you and your family safe. 

Keyes says, “you should actually schedule an annual tune-up of your furnace and have an HVAC professional come in and tell you what’s going on with your system. Check for frayed electrical wires cracked heat exchangers… things like that. And also, as winter comes and we’re firing up these furnaces, it’s a good time to make sure that you do have your carbon monoxide detectors in place and working, and also smoke detectors.” 

This week is fire prevention week. The national fire prevention association posts videos and tutorials to learn from home about fire prevention. 

Keyes also says, “keep the area around the furnaces clear. If you do have a major malfunction of the furnace and the fire blew out… if you have combustibles nearby, they could ignite so you need at least 36-inch clearance around. Changing air filters is important. Most HVAC professionals suggest changing air filters once a month. And, if you have any problems call a service tech. Have a professional come in and check it.” 

It is important to make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working because if there is a carbon monoxide leak within your furnace you will not see, or smell it. The carbon monoxide detector will notify you that you have a problem. 

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