It’s so simple, but it can never be repeated enough: keep the area around your furnace clear. Putting anything too close to the furnace can cause a catastrophic fire or an explosion in your Harrisburg, Hershey, Carlisle, Middletown and Palmyra area home. Don’t store things within two feet of your furnace. That includes storage bins – plastic burns, too, and the fumes from burning plastic may be toxic. Laundry should not be allowed to pile up anywhere near the furnace (or the bottom of the dryer, for that matter). Most importantly, be sure any chemicals – cleaning products, solvents, oils and the like – are stored as far from the furnace as possible – in a different part of the house, if you can manage it. That’s an open flame under the furnace, and it can set anything around it – even chemical fumes – afire in no time. Go down there right now and look at it, before you forget, and take a few minutes to make whatever changes are necessary to give your furnace a nice, wide safety circle. While you’re at this safety check, test your smoke detectors, too, and replace the batteries if necessary. If the worst were to happen and something near your furnace did ignite, at least you’d have a fighting chance to get out safely if you have working smoke detectors.