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LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – With temperatures expected to dip this weekend, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue officials are warning area residents to check their furnaces and other heating equipment ahead of the cold temperatures.

The National Weather Service in Las Vegas is predicting that temperatures are possibly going to get down into the 30’s this weekend in some neighborhoods, making it the first official cold snap of the season.

Las Vegas Fire & Rescue suggests you check your heating equipment to make sure it will operate properly if you decide you need it. Among their suggestions and safety tips:

  • Furnaces have been sitting unused for over six months in most buildings and probably have accumulated a buildup of dust from sitting. The first time the burners are used, they will begin to burn off that accumulation which will result in a burning smell, even possibly producing a light white haze in the building. This is normal and will continue until the residue is burned away. You do not need to call 9-1-1.
  • Take advantage of the warm days this week and use your furnace a few times during the day to burn it off before it gets cold. Open windows and doors to circulate the air so the burning smell leaves. This may take a few times to accomplish to get rid of the smell.
  • Listen to the furnace and make sure it sounds like it is operating properly. Better to find out while it is warm that it may need some maintenance work than waiting until it gets cold.
  • If you turn on your furnace and it makes noises, smells like something is burning and smoke starts to come out the vents and continues to get thicker, leave the building immediately and call 9-1-1 from a safe location outside the building.
  • It is recommended that you have preventive maintenance performed on your furnace at least every two years to make sure it is operating safely and properly.
  • If you plan to use a space heater, make sure it is kept at least three feet from anything that can burn like bedding, furniture or curtains. Space heaters should be plugged directly into a wall outlet, do not use extension cords. Never leave a space heater operating unattended. If you leave the room, it should be shut off. Always unplug space heaters when not in use.
  • If you plan to use the fireplace, make sure the damper is open (the trap door at the top inside the fireplace.) Use the fireplace properly. If it is a solid fuel fire place, you can use logs inside for fuel. If it is a natural gas only fireplace, nothing that can burn should be put in the fireplace. There is a small metal plate on the fireplace which will indicate what type it is: solid fuel or gas only. Never use the fireplace with the damper closed, carbon monoxide will build up in the building which could lead to deadly consequences.
  • It is especially important during heater season that you have a properly operating smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your building. Both are there to give you adequate warning in case of fire or a carbon monoxide leak, both which are most likely not detectable while you are asleep.
  • Smoke alarms are suggested for each bedroom, one in the hallway to the bedrooms, one outside the kitchen area and one for each level of the home.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors are suggested in the hallway to the bedrooms and one for any other levels of the home. Furnaces, water heaters, and stoves are major producers of carbon monoxide.
  • Outside cooking devices such as bar-be-cues, hibachis or camping stoves should never be used inside a building for heating.
  • Using the oven for heating is not suggested.

As winter approaches, it will only get colder. Now is best time to ensure your heating requirements are safe and operational.

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