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Nov 14, 2012 7:00 PM by John Overall

Experts recommend inspection and tune-up before firing up the furnace

TUCSON - With overnight temperatures cooling down, a lot of furnaces are firing up.

When it gets cold, most of us don't even think about cranking up the thermostat, but firing up the furnace the first time every year should never be taken lightly.

On Monday night, a family living on East Silver Street learned that lesson the hard way. Their furnace overheated, then burst into flames. It took 22 firefighters to extinguish the flames. The estimated damage is $30,000 and their home is uninhabitable.

It's a painful reminder to service your heating unit before using it. Isaac Quinn of Temco Air Environmental says his technicians check for leaks, make sure the gas pressure is correct, see if safety devices are in proper working order, and check the filters.

Quinn says the one thing we can do to prevent disaster is to keep the area around our heaters clear of clutter.

"I've seen closets that it looks like no one's been in there for years and there's papers and cardboard boxes and dust accumulated, and you know, all it takes is one little spark and it can go up," Quinn told News 4 Tucson.

The cost of hiring a professional to tune up your heater can be more than $100, but the cost of not tuning it up could be much higher.

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