Cold weather warning: Don’t use your oven to heat your home!

With cold temperatures expected this weekend, a warning you’ve likely heard before but worth repeating: 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 under $30,000 and who have a gas range -- say they used that appliance 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 Consumer Reports Home Editor Paul Hope.

The CDC has long warned to never use a gas range or oven for heating as it can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide inside your home.

Consumer Reports found an alarming number of families heat their homes with their ovens, putting their health and safety at risk. (Provided by Consumer Reports)

In addition to carbon monoxide risks, Consumer Reports recently conducted a series of emissions tests on gas ranges and 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 warned.

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.

CONSUMER REPORTS | Recommended space heaters for $100 or less

Remember to always turn off and unplug any space heater when you leave a room and never leave it on while you’re sleeping.

Help available

Smoke detectors: Having working smoke detectors can be lifesaving. If you live in Duval County and you need a smoke detector, those who qualify can get one and have it installed for free by the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. Call 630-CITY to make an appointment. This is for Jacksonville residents only.

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.

Locally, LIHEAP is administered by Northeast Florida Community Action Agency – and can help you through programs that reduce the risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe heating and cooling practices. To make an appointment call 904-362-8052 or go online here.

You can also contact your utility provider to find out about programs and financial assistance available to you.