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As temperatures drop, check your heating system before turning it on

Matt Shorney from National Grid shows how to check your furnace for debris
Jessica Cain
Matt Shorney from National Grid shows how to check your furnace for debris

The beginning of fall is a good time to start preparing your equipment for the beginning of the heating season.

National Grid Gas Services Representative Matt Shorney said it’s vital to make sure your furnace’s fan and burners are vacuumed and free of debris. Also, avoid keeping flammable items within 18 inches of any type of heating unit.

"You want your baseboards and your radiators near the floor clear of anything that could be combustible, anything that could catch on fire," said Shorney.

Shorney recommends changing your filters at the beginning and end of a heating season. If they get clogged or damaged, the house will take longer to warm up, causing heating bills to spike.

This is a good time of year to double check carbon monoxide detectors. Shorney said they typically last 5-7 years before needing to be replaced, and they should always have fresh batteries.

"Make sure they're located close to bedrooms, lower to the floor as CO rises through the house, and you want them to also be located outside of a utility room or on top of your basement stairs."

He also warns against using stoves or ovens to heat the house.

“A lot of stoves tend to create carbon monoxide,” he said. “Now, if you just leave that thing running all day, in a closed, small kitchen, it’ll create more carbon monoxide and cause a lot of health effects.”

Shorney said if National Grid customers smell gas or have reason to believe there is carbon monoxide in their home, they should call the company for help at 1-800-642-4272.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.