Heater safety preparations

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - From Friday through to next week temperatures are dropping in the Tennessee Valley. Temperatures are predicted to be as low as 19 degrees.

With the cold comes heaters and safety is important.

Frank Mckenzie, from the Huntsville Fire Department, said the best thing you can do before the winter starts is to have an HVAC certified electrician check your home. He also recommends using space heaters that have Underwriters Laboratories  (UL) on them, this means that they are listed and 'tip-over proof'. If you accidentally tip them over they will automatically turn off.

"A couple of reasons that you would want that, especially if you have small children or animals in the house, if a child was to run by or an animal run by and knock it over, you're not in the room it could catch fire. With a tip-over protection, if it does get knocked over it will actually cut itself off," said Mckenzie.

Larry Durham, from Durham Service Company, said check your heater checked early to avoid any delays during the cold season.

"I do recommend having a professional HVAC contractor come out and if you have a heat pump, check the refrigerant levels make sure it's properly charged, clean the heater so you don't get those odors of burning lint inside the home, make sure all the electrical connections are good and secure and tight," Durham said.

When Durham Service Company service a heating system, they check the following:

  • Gas furnace
    • 1. Clean heat exchanger
    • Clean the blower motor
    • Test the igniter or pilot control
    • Inspect gas vents and test carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Electric Heat Pump
    • Check refrigerant charge
    • Clean evaporator coil and axillary heat  kit
    • Test the amperage
    • Verify that the electrical heat connections are tight and secure
  • General Maintenance
    • Verify thermostat operation
    • Change the air filters
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