CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As temperatures plummet this week, properly heating your home is a priority.

Heading into the new year, two separate families with small children are without a home due to a fire started by improperly heating their home.

In Lancaster, a space heater exploded causing the home to burn from top to bottom.

The homeowner said she left three space heaters on when leaving the house.

“I think I left the one for the kitchen on,” said the homeowner. “And the one for the bedroom on.”

Fire officials say when using space heaters in your home remember to keep the heaters at least three feet away from any flammable items.

Also, turn the heaters off when you are not home and it's the same rule for fireplaces.

A southeast Charlotte home now a total loss after a blaze ripped through the roof Officials say the fire started in the chimney which may have needed cleaning.

“All types of wood that come from the different types of wood that you're burning, that can cause a fire,” said fire officials on scene.

For other options to safely warm your home, seal windows with plastic or install plastic drapes.

Turn your thermostat down, not up, to balance your heating system so your electricity bill won't spike.