Space Heater Hazards
From toasty blankets to warm cups of cocoa, we are all looking for ways to stay warm during the colder months. Many homeowners rely on space heaters to bring extra heat into their homes. Space heaters can warm up a room quickly but are not always safe. Unfortunately, space heaters are one of the leading causes of electrical fires and can be blamed for over 25,000 fires annually. Not all portable heaters are problematic but should be used with caution. Follow these safety tips from the Plugged In Electrical team to stay safe while you get toasty.
- Only Use a Space Heater with Modern Safety Features— Modern space heaters with the UL label have been safety tested to minimize the chance of a fire. Great safety features to look for include a thermostat that monitors room temperature and turns the unit on and off accordingly as well as a tip-over switch that cuts off the unit if it detects being knocked over. Another beneficial feature is protection against overheating, which is a unit that cuts itself off if the internal components are heating up too much. Lastly, choose a unit with a sturdy heat-resistant handle, which will allow you to move the unit safely.
- Never Use a Damaged Space Heater— Inspect your space heater to ensure there are no dents or cracks in the unit. Look for evidence of damage to the cord or wiring. When in doubt about the condition of your unit, buy a replacement. The cost of replacing your space heater will be far more affordable than risking a house fire.
- Place your Space Heater in a Safe Spot— As a general rule, keep your space heater at least three feet away from anything that could become a fire hazard, such as bedding, furniture, and rugs. Also, ensure that your heater is sitting on a flat surface only. Setting up your heater on top of furniture or carpet is a fire hazard if your heater overheats.
- Keep Kids and Pets Away from your Space Heater— Make sure your children and pets stay three feet away from the heater. Talk to your kids about the importance of fire safety and how space heaters need to be left alone.
- Turn Off the Heater if Unmonitored— Never leave a space heater on when you are away from home. Additionally, shut it off before you go to sleep. Use the heater to warm up your room and turn it off before you get drowsy. Unattended heaters have caused far too many house fires.
- Move the Heater Away from Moisture— Never use your space heater near water. You could risk getting electrocuted, so keep it away from water and never touch a space heater with wet hands.
- Ensure your Smoke Alarms are Functioning— Your fire safety protective measures are important all the time, but even more so when using a space heater. Early detection protects people and your home, so never use a space heater without having functional smoke detectors nearby.
Stay safe and cozy this winter! If you need electrical services, Plugged In Electrical can help!