Why getting your furnace checked could save your life this winter

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – This week marks the 100th year of Fire Prevention Week.

Lincoln Fire & Rescue and many other fire departments are bringing awareness to little things you should keep in mind as winter comes closer.

Having your furnace checked every year is something that often gets pushed to the back burner, but it can mean the difference between life and death.

“There’s a lot of dirt and buildup that can accumulate within that furnace, and just a little spark can cause a fire if there’s a dirt buildup,” LFR Capt. Nancy Crist said.

Not only can an old filter be a fire hazard, but it can produce carbon monoxide.

Wes Dalrymple, a service technician for John Henry’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, said professionals can conduct routine checks to make sure the carbon monoxide levels are where they’re supposed to be.

“It’s a silent killer, so that’s a reason you want to have it checked out every year,” he said. “You just never know. You don’t want to be a statistic. Just always have it checked just to make sure you and your family are safe.”

Several heating, ventilation and air conditioning businesses around Lincoln are busier this time of year as the weather gets colder.

Dalrymple said it’s safest to check furnace filters or call an expert to do it at least once every year.

“It could save their life,” he said. “Systems are designed to last 15 to 20 years, so if systems are getting older, you definitely want to have them checked out. It’s always good to have yearly maintenance done, so it’s just a peace of mind.”

LFR said there are many other minor hazards that people should be aware of.

“This week, as we go into the colder months, that’s where our fires kind of increase due to candles, fireplaces, grills on decks, those kinds of things,” Crist said.

LFR’s main goal during Fire Prevention Week is to get families to talk about their plan of action in case of a fire.

While this is a great time to learn, Crist said this is something people should keep in mind all year.

“Again, have that conversation. Talk to kids, talk to other family members,” she said. “Because you’re right. People never think it’s going to happen to them until it does.”

Visit the Fire Prevention Week website to learn more tips and to create a safety plan for your family.

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