Cold weather warning: Never use your oven to heat your home

A properly used space heater with safety features is a better way to warm a room

SAN ANTONIO – With cold temperatures expected later in the week, safety experts warn: Don’t ever use an oven to heat your home.

Yet, Consumer Reports found an alarming number of families still do it, putting their health and safety at risk.

The new survey from Consumer Reports found one in five Americans with an annual household income of less than $30,000 and who have a gas range say they used their oven to heat their home during the past year.

“Not only is it a fire and burn hazard but heating an apartment or your home with an oven that’s on and open can emit dangerous pollutants and gasses into your home,” said Paul Hope, home editor for Consumer Reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long warned never to use a gas range or oven for heating because it can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide inside the home.

In addition, Consumer Reports recently conducted a series of emissions tests on gas ranges. They found nitrogen oxides at levels that exceeded indoor air quality criteria, particularly when the burner setting was on high, and there was no ventilation.

“These gasses can worsen asthma and lung diseases and increase the risk of asthma in young children,” Hope said.

A safer heating option is a space heater, but choose one with an automatic shutoff, in case it overheats or tips over. Consumer Reports recommends the Comfort Zone model CZ499R for about $69.

Space heaters should be placed at least three feet from combustible materials, such as bedding and draperies.

Extension cords should not be used with a space heater, and never leave it on when you go to sleep.

Federal home energy assistance: The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs, including power bills and minor energy-related home repairs. Find more information here.

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