PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- You've heard the warnings before: Never, ever use an oven to heat your home. Yet, Consumer Reports found that an alarming number of families still do it, putting their health and safety at risk.
With colder weather here, CR offers some safer heating alternatives.
Safety experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree: You should never use your range or gas oven as a heating source. But a new survey from Consumer Reports found that 1 in 5 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 also emit dangerous pollutants and gases into your home.
The CDC has long warned to never use a gas range or oven for heating because it can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide inside your home.
CR recently conducted a series of emissions tests on gas ranges and, in addition to carbon monoxide risks, 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 gases can worsen asthma and lung diseases and increase the risk of asthma in young children.
So what should you do on those cold days when you need extra heat to keep warm?
A safer heating option is a space heater, but choose one with an automatic shutoff in case it overheats or tips over. CR Recommended space heater: Comfort Zone CZ499R.
It is also important to always turn off and unplug a space heater when you leave a room, and never leave it on while you're sleeping.
Also, remember to have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.
For more information: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program