ARKANSAS (KFSM) — Most people use heaters in their homes to stay warm, but some use wood-burning stoves or space heaters which could be dangerous by starting a fire or producing unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.
A Bella Vista home burned to the ground last week during this recent cold snap and the likely cause was a space heater.
Rogers Battalion Chief David Whitlow said there's always an increase in house fires in the winter.
“If the space heater is red like you see when they get hot, if something combustible touches it, it doesn’t take very long at all especially if it’s paper or some product like that," said Whitlow. "A cloth, it doesn’t take long to get a fire started and the fire rapidly gets bigger."
Chief Whitlow warns not to bring outside heaters indoors.
“We recommend you don’t use outdoor heating products for like when you are camping. You don’t use kerosene heaters or propane heaters because they will give off carbon monoxide.”
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly.
Service department coordinator at Pascal Air, Plumbing & Electric Devaan Choppala said to make sure and have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
“If you are smelling any kind of abnormal smells coming from the unit especially any kind of burning, a lot of times people will smell an electrical smell coming from the unit. It’s best to shut everything off at your thermostat,” Choppala said.
Choppala said if the smell doesn’t go away then to turn off the system at the breaker panel. He said it’s important to do simple maintenance to help prevent any issues with your heating system.
“Changing filters, checking and making sure things that are supposed to be kept up with are being done. The number one issue is changing your filter and making sure that system is getting the right amount of air flow. That can cause a world of problems if that isn’t being done,” he said.
They recommend changing your air filters every three months unless you have pets then you should probably change it sooner. The fire department says if you will be using your space heater then to make sure there is nothing around it that could catch fire.
The fire department also recommends dressing in layers to keep your core temp up so it won’t have to turn the heat up so high.