Space Heaters: Staying Warm And Staying Safe This Winter

No one likes being cold, which means as we get further into the winter months we will soon be bringing out space heaters or maybe you already have yours plugged in. Either way, make sure you are being safe when using a space heater and following all safety messages associated with the heater.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 25,000 residential fires are associated with the use of space heaters every year, causing more than 300 deaths and 6,000 trips to the emergency room. Despite the high numbers, space heaters are actually much safer now than they used to be.

If you are considering purchasing a space heater, make sure to find one that best suits the location where it will be. Space heaters commonly run on electricity, propane, natural gas, and kerosene. Generally, space heaters range between 10,000 Btu and 40,000 Btu. Make sure to choose a proper heater for the size of the room/area you wish to heat and also a heater that can be thermostatically controlled to avoid wasting energy on overheating a room/area.

When it comes to heating a room in your home, electric space heaters are more expensive to operate than combustion space heaters, but they are the only unvented space heaters that are safe to operate inside the home. Although electric space heaters avoid indoor air quality concerns, they still pose burn and fire hazards and should be used with caution.

Electric heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet. If an extension cord is necessary to reach the area you would like to heat, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger. Always check and follow any manufacturer’s instructions pertaining to the use of extension cords. Also make sure to buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if the unit is tipped over.

While it might be tempting to place a heater on a desk, on your bed, or even on a workbench to blow warm air on your face, heaters should always be on the floor to reduce the chances of it falling over and causing a fire. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also says that heaters should not be placed within three feet of anything flammable. Some manuals list curtains, papers, furniture, pillows, and bedding as objects to stay away from.

Stay warm and stay safe this winter season!