HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – As those cooler temperatures begin to take over, you may find yourself turning off the air conditioner and switching on the heat, but it's important to make sure you're being safe about it.
Public Information Officer with Horry County Fire Rescue said they have already received a handful of calls this year to homes where the heat has kicked on in the middle of the night and the dust on the furnace has started to burn and creates smoke.
According to Nugent, homeowners can avoid this by opening their windows midday while the weather is still nice, turning on their heat, and letting that dust burn off while they air out their home.
If you have a space heater in your home, it's important to remember to shut that device off if you leave your home or when you go to bed. If it's an electric heater, Nugent said do not plug it into an extension cord, because they were not made for that.
One rule of thumb that Nugent said is good to remember is keeping anything "three feet from the heat."
"At nighttime people may put them in a bedroom and you start getting warm and don't realize it and in the middle of the night you start kicking the blankets and stuff off the bed and they fall on the heater," said Nugent.
It's a good idea to get your furnace checked out but also have a safety plan. Make sure there are two exits out of every room, make family or group members aware of the plan, but most importantly, practice it.
Nugent said it's also good to make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your house as well.
For more information on how to create a safety plan, click here.