Space Heater Safety: Tips and Advice | Heater.com
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Space Heater Safety: Tips and Advice

Compared to a home heating system, using a portable space heater for a room is a much more financially feasible option to keep warm.  They are cheaper to buy and are convenient enough to move from room to room. Also, unlike fuel-burning heaters, electric space heaters do not emit carbon monoxide.

However, similar to other heating sources, when not handled properly, a portable space heater can potentially be very dangerous. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, they contribute to nearly 33% of home heating fires. The majority of these accidents are due to the heat source being too close to flammable materials and objects.

The following are precautions that you can take to prevent the occurrence of accidents.  Taking these tips in mind will allow you and your family to stay safe and warm during the cold seasons.

 

Space Heater Safety Practices

Keep anything that is flammable at least three feet away from the heat source.  This can include clothes, beds, and papers. Also make sure children and pets are at least 3 feet away from the heating source as well. Touching or brushing against the surface of a heater can cause burns, while pets risk burning their fur.  As mentioned already, most home heating fires caused by portable heaters are the result of flammable objects being too close to the heating source.

Make sure your cords are not damaged and that the plug is secured in the power outlet.  Damaged or frayed cords can cause electrical shocks which can lead to fire hazards. Cords can easily become damaged if they are covered by something, such as a rug. In addition, rather than pulling the cord, be sure to remove the plug carefully when not using the heater. This not only will damage the cord, but can also break or bend the plug prongs.

Do not use extension cords or power strips. Most heaters were not manufactured to be used with extension cords. They should be directly plugged into the wall sockets. Also, if your heater uses more power than the extension cord can handle, the extension cord can overheat. Using an extension cord also increases the risks of injuries from tripping and falling.

Make sure your heater is on a stable surface.  If your heater is placed on an unstable surface, such as a table or chair, it can run the risk of toppling over.  This can cause burns to your carpet as well as injuring people or pets that are within the vicinity.

Turn off heating source when you leave the room or go to bed.  Oftentimes, people make the mistake of leaving their heater on while they are sleeping or when they leave a room for a long period of time. During this time, the heater can topple over or unmonitored pets and children can get too close to the heater. To be safe, a heater should always be turned off when there is no one monitoring it.

Ensure your fire alarm is functioning properly.  You should inspect your smoke detectors monthly to be certain the batteries are not dead and the device is still working. In the case that a fire from your heater does occur, it is important to have a working alarm to notify you while it is small and still manageable.

Do not use the heater in areas near water or with high moisture.  Unless the heater you purchased is designed for outdoor or bathroom usage, you should not have a portable heater in a bathroom or kitchen, where it is easily susceptible to moisture. You should also not touch your heater if you are wet because having your heater exposed to moisture can cause accidental electric shocks.

Only use heaters that are safety certified.  Only purchase heaters that have a safety certification. In order to get the certification, heaters have to pass numerous safety, performance, and construction tests. A heater that is certified has a much lower chance of malfunctioning or posing as a safety threat. The logo for the certification is generally located somewhere on the back of the heater.

If your space heater requires fuel, only use the type specified by the manufacturer. Using the incorrect type of fuel for your heater can affect gas emissions or even produce a fire or explosion hazard.

Be sure to download or share our helpful infographic to remind you the safe practices of using a portable space heater. Following these heater safety tips will allow you and your family to enjoy the comfort of your space heater without any of the safety risks.

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Sources:

http://www.nfpa.org/~/media/Files/Safety%20information/Safety%20tip%20sheets/heating_safety.pdf

http://learn.compactappliance.com/infographic-space-heater-safety/

http://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/heating.html

http://www.dfs.dps.mo.gov/safetytips/home-heating-safety.asp

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/causes/heating

http://www.ehow.com/about_5315216_dangers-electric-space-heaters.html

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