Space Heater Safety: Warming Your Home Safely
By DeAnna Greene
During the colder months, many homeowners turn to space heaters as a convenient way to keep their living spaces warm and cozy. Space heaters have gained popularity for their ability to provide localized heat. However, it’s important to note that most space heaters are not energy efficient. These devices typically consume a significant amount of electricity compared to other heating methods, such as central heating systems.
While space heaters can effectively provide localized warmth, it is essential to understand the potential risks they pose and the necessary safety measures to ensure a safe heating experience.
At Lane Electric, we prioritize the safety of our members, and we’re here to provide guidelines on how to use space heaters safely.
Choose the Right Heater
When selecting a space heater, choose one that meets safety regulations and is appropriate for your specific needs. Look for space heaters with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label, which ensures the heater has undergone rigorous testing.
Additionally, consider the size of the area you plan to heat and opt for a heater with an automatic shut-off function in case the heater tips over or reaches a specific temperature.
Appropriate placement of your space heater is crucial to avoid potential hazards. Always place the heater on a level, nonflammable surface, at least 3 feet away from combustible materials, such as furniture, curtains or bedding. Never place a space heater on countertops or near water sources. It could start a fire or create an electrical hazard.
Power up With Caution
Before plugging in your space heater, inspect the electrical cord for any damage or fraying. Ensure the heater is compatible with the electrical outlets in your home. Never plug a space heater into an extension cord or power strip. They can overheat and create a potential fire risk. If needed, have a certified electrician install additional outlets to accommodate your space heater safely.
Temperature Control & Monitoring
Space heaters often come with built-in thermostats and temperature controls. Set the heater to a comfortable temperature and avoid leaving it unattended. Remember to turn off and unplug the heater for added safety when leaving the room or going to sleep.
Additionally, never use a space heater as the primary heating source for an entire home. They are intended for limited, localized use.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Even when taking proper precautions, accidents can still happen. Have functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors placed throughout your home. Consistently check the batteries and ensure the detectors are always in good working condition.
Regular Maintenance & Inspection
To ensure the continued safe use of your space heater, perform regular maintenance and inspections. Clean the heater per the manufacturer’s instructions, removing any dust and debris that may pose a fire hazard. In addition, schedule an annual inspection with a qualified technician to verify that all components are functioning correctly and that there are no hidden problems.
Educating Children & Family Members
When using space heaters, educating your family members—especially children— about the potential dangers and safety precautions is crucial. Prevent burns or other accidents by teaching them not to touch or play near the heater. Emphasize the importance of unplugging the heater when not in use and encourage them to alert an adult if they notice any safety concerns.
At Lane Electric, safety is our top priority. Following these space heater safety guidelines allows you to enjoy their warmth and comfort without compromising your well-being. Stay warm and safe this winter.