Space Heater Safety Tips

space-heaterA space heater’s sole purpose is to heat up that place in our home that never seems to be able to get warmed from our furnace or heat pump. These small heaters give us a little reprieve from the cold without raising our electric bills by too big an amount. But you must keep in mind that space heaters are to be used with caution and under a watchful eye. Left unattended and space heater can start a fire that could spread in under a minute. Heating equipment is the second most popular culprit of home fires in the US, accounting for countless injuries, homes lost; millions of dollars in insurance claims and sadly, even deaths.

Plug Directly Into Outlet

Always plug your space heater directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord or power strip to give your heater power. Doing this can lead to fire or electrical shorts to occur. Be sure to check the wires and the body of your heating unit to make sure nothing is frayed, rusted, broken or otherwise malfunctioning.

Do Not Leave Heater By Itself

Whenever you get up to leave the warm sanctity that is your hot spot, turn off or unplug your space heater. Whether you’re walking out for the day or just for five minutes be sure that it is powered down. This will decrease your chances of it starting a fire by almost 100%. It only takes a fire a few precious moments to start and spread. Avoid this catastrophic outcome every time you use your heater.

Read and Follow Your Specific Heater’s Manual

When it comes to most things to read (i.e. OS updates and the like), you generally can get safely by without reading them. When something has the ability to burn your house down you take it a bit more seriously. They don’t print those manuals and put warning stickers on the units for no reason-heed the warning!

Stay Back 3 Feet

To be effective, a heater must do a few things to function properly: warm a small area; not start a fire; turn on or off when prompted. As a user, you must do a few things also: use caution by keeping anything that could burn at least 3 feet away; turn it off when you’re leaving the room; examine it for defect or anything unusual. Staying a minimum of 3 feet away is ideal for proper safety of your heater. Remember it’s a space heater, not a grill, not a blanket warmer and definitely not a microwave.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors are a MUST

Smoke-which you can smell-and carbon monoxide-which you can’t-are potential signs of fire or poisonous gas. Each floor of your home should have at least one smoke and one carbon monoxide detector. Both can be very hazardous to your health,  and depending on your type of heater may be emitted if not working properly.

Just like all the devices and appliances in your home, use each with caution and be sure you know enough about it to operate it properly and with great care.

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