ALBANY, N.Y. – As the weather starts to cool down, many homeowners are running into problems with their heating equipment.
Firefighters say smoke in the basement calls are not uncommon this time of year, especially with homeowners turning on their furnaces or boilers for the first time this season. The main issue firefighters are running into is clutter around the heating equipment.
The Albany Fire Department says this is something that can be easily avoided. Alvin Lanier, a fire investigator with AFD, says homeowners should have their heating equipment checked out once a year to make sure everything is running properly and keep the area free of clutter.
"You are supposed to have a 36 inch or 3 foot diameter clear space around your boilers. a lot of times people put stuff on top and forget and that causes a lot of fires," he says.
And the same rule of thumb applies to space heaters, although Lanier advises to steer clear of them as they can short-circuit and create a fire from the spark.
"Try not to use electric heat if at all possible. But, if you are going to use them, use them in the living room not the bedroom.
The fire department says this is also a timely reminder to test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Experts say old furnaces and boilers that are not well-maintained can emit toxic amounts of carbon monoxide which is odorless and colorless.
Check out additional
heating safety tips here.