It's the time of year when the high summer temperatures begin cooling down and we turn on heaters and light fireplaces.

It's often a welcomed time of year for East Texans, after experiencing a triple-digit summer.

However, this time of year can take a turn for the worse if precautions aren't taken with heating devices.

Heating, gas or fire devices should be checked by a qualified service technician. Also, make sure gas- or wood-burning stoves are at least three feet away from all combustibles and away from any ignition point.

If using a heating device overnight, make sure it is self-contained and follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Officials also say a certified chimney sweep should properly clean out wood-burning stoves and chimneys. In addition, those with electrical heating systems should make sure to change filters to allow for proper airflow.

It's also important to educate children on heating devices, and make sure small children stay away from them.

Other heating tips include:

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet (one meter) away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.

• Never use your oven to heat your home.

• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

• Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.

• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before placing them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

• Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

We want everyone to have a safe and happy Fall and Winter season, so please pay extra attention to those heaters and fireplaces this year!

Jacksonville Progress

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