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TIPS: How to be safe when using heating devices in your home

Temperatures are expected to drop in the 40s and 50s the next few days. Houston firefighters want to keep you and your homes safe.

HOUSTON — Houston woke up to some pretty chilly temperatures Thursday morning and it'll get even colder this weekend. 

But before you turn on those heaters, the Houston Fire Department is offering the following safety tips:

Space heaters

  • Citizens should always keep in mind that space heaters need space
  • Never leave children unattended in a room with a space heater.
  • Children may also stick paper or toys in the grates of the space heaters especially gas space heaters.
  • Keep all combustible materials, including yourself at least 3 feet from the heater.
  • Open face heaters should have a screen.
  • Provide ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

Vented Gas heating devices

  • Inspect annually by a qualified service technician.
  • Do not use these type of units without a proper vent pipe. Vent pipes must exhaust to the outside!
  • If your flame is not blue, it is not burning properly. It is producing Carbon Monoxide, which can't be seen, smelled or tasted. Turn it off.
  • Use flexible metal tubing with threaded ends to connect the heater to the gas valve. There should be a cutoff valve for the heater at the wall. Never use a rubber hose to connect a space heater to the gas valve!
  • Use soapy water to check all connections and valves for leaks. NEVER use a match to test for a gas leak!
  • Look for the American Gas Association label and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for proper usage.

Electric heaters

  • Never overload outlets or breakers
  • Don't use extension cords for the heater. If the cord is hot to the touch, turn off the heater and unplug it!
  • Electric heaters permanently installed in the wall or ceiling should have lint and dust removed regularly. 


  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room
  • Never leave a fireplace fire unattended, particularly when children are present. 
  • Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container, and kept at a safe distance from your home.
  • Make sure you open your fireplace flue, if applicable. 

How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning while staying warm

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can kill you before you are even aware of it. This specific gas can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue, often mistaken for the flu.

  • Do not run generators inside. Keep them outdoors and at least 20 feet away from the home.
  • Do not run a car inside a closed garage.
  • Do not use a gas oven to heat a home.
  • Do not burn anything in a stove or fireplace that is not vented.
  • Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.
  • Have heating systems, water heaters, and another other appliances that operate on gas, oil or coal serviced once a year.

Click here for more information. 

Credit: KHOU

HFD said to have a working carbon monoxide alarm if you use gas appliances and/or a fireplace. When your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, ventilate the house with fresh air by opening windows and doors.

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