A space heater can turn a chilly room into warm, cozy space to hide from winter winds. But space heaters are involved in nearly 80% of deaths from home heating fires, so it's very important to know how to choose and use a heater safely:
How to choose a safe heater
Electric space heaters are more expensive to use than the type that burns kerosene or gas. Though, electric space heaters are 'the only unvented space heaters that are safe to operate inside your home." The combined risks of fumes, open flames, and storing combustible fuel aren't worth the small savings in operating costs. Check the packaging for a UL symbol and automatic shut-off feature that will kick in if the heater overheats or gets tipped over. Also, check the room size recommendations, and don't buy a more powerful heater than you need for your room.
Find a safe place for your heater
Your first consideration is the outlet placement in the room. Don't be tempted to use an extension cord. A typical extension cord will probably overheat if used for something as high-wattage as a space heater and could cause a fire. Safe use of extensions cords involves calculations of length and wattage and is best left to a licensed electrical contractor. So, even if you have to rearrange furniture or pull back draperies to fit your space heater next to an outlet, it's worth the effort. Make sure the heater sits flat on a level surface.
Create a safety zone
Half of all deaths attributed to space heater fires happened because furniture, bedding, draperies, or some other flammable item was too close to the heater. Establish a three-foot safety zone around the heater in every direction, and keep that zone clear.
Some other important safety tips
Treat your space heater the way you would treat a fireplace flame or a candle. The heater should only be turned on when you'll be in the room. Never leave it on while you're sleeping, or when you leave the house. Children and pets should only be near the heater when you're watching to make sure they're safe. Don't use the heater to dry out winter hats and mittens, items should never be placed on the heater.
When is a space heater too old to use?
When you pull out your space heater for a new season, look it over. Check to make sure it has the newest safety features, like the UL seal and the automatic shut-off features. If you can see fraying of the wires, wear on the electrical cord or plug, or if the plug gets hot while you're using the heater, it's time to replace it or get it repaired.
The best use of space heaters
Space heaters aren't meant to be the main source of heat in a home. Make sure you leave your central unit turned up to keep pipes from freezing. If you have a room that gets chilly because it has a lot of windows, or you have a person in your house who needs or wants a warmer environment than the rest of the family, that's the perfect reason to use a space heater. If you buy a high-quality electric heater and use it wisely, you'll be rewarded with a safe, cozy space to hide from the winter chill.
Contact local electrical contractors for more information and assistance.
Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Steve. After studying a lot of books on electrical codes and watching a great deal of videos online, I actually rewired my entire home. In this blog, I plan to give you tips on wiring, electrical safety and more. I also plan to write interesting facts about electricity, but don't expect this blog to be just about electricity--I love tech and other home improvements as well, so you may see posts related to that. Interested in learning? Then, take a look through these posts. I hope they ignite a spark of excitement in you.