Cold snap leads to heating hazards, headaches - KPTV - FOX 12

Cold snap leads to heating hazards, headaches

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

With some of the chilliest temperatures of the season hitting several consecutive nights, area residents are contending just to stay warm.

Some are learning that it's not always as easy as flipping a switch.

A Camas, WA, family of four was left looking for a place to stay Saturday after space heaters overloaded circuits and sparked a fire in their home. Everyone managed to get out OK.

Experts say fires caused by space heaters generally spike in January. Firefighters advise using space heaters only if necessary, to use ones with shut-off sensors when they're tipped over, and to plug them directly into walls. Also, keep space heaters at least three feet away from furniture.

Meanwhile, local home heating repair companies are seeing a sharp increase in calls for service.

AAA Heating and Cooling says they're getting about 300 calls a day. One of dozens of calls to which they responded on Saturday was at a home in Beaverton where the furnace simply stopped working.

"It shuts down after it tries to come on a few times," said homeowner Michael Sergeant.

Technician Eric Baker says it's important to check heating systems regularly, a most of the problems he encounters stem from a lack of maintenance.

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