It's time to inspect your furnaces and propane tanks

An explosion from a propane tank leak.

In the wake of two home explosions in northwest Ohio, calls for home heating service are picking up.

Steve O'Donnell of Bluflame Service Co. says his office has already started getting heat related calls from customers. "We see quite a bit in the first cold snap; a large number of heat calls are an indication that the furnace broke over the summer," Mr. O'Donnell said.

In the last week, three people in the region have perished in house explosions that have been tentatively linked to propane tank leaks.

O'Donnell urges people to have their home heating equipment inspected by a certified technician before turning it on in the fall. "You want to have the electronics checked to make sure that they are protected because they are the control boards for the furnace," Mr. O'Donnell said.

Chriz Kozak, communications manager for Columbia Gas of Ohio, says house explosions linked to gas or propane leaks are rare. Nevertheless the signs of trouble are unmistakable and quick action should be taken. "You have that rotten egg smell so you know that you have an issue and we encourage you to leave the house immediately and call 9-1-1," Mr. Kozak said.

Handheld flammable gas detectors can be used to trace leaks from natural gas lines, propane tanks, butane tanks, or any other combustible gas. These sensors can be purchased for $35-100.