Portable space heaters can be very convenient, especially if you live in an older home where heat tends to escape regularly. We see people use space heaters to heat bedrooms and home offices, and sometimes they use them in place of their furnace in hopes of saving a few bucks on their heating bill.
If you’re fond of portable electric space heaters because they’re a convenient source of heat during the winter, it’s critically important that you be aware that they increase the risk of electric shock and a residential fire if they’re not used correctly.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that half of all home heating fires occur in the months of December, January, and February, which is no surprise because that’s the time of year when the temperatures plummet.
Space Heater Safety Tips
“Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. These fire result in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage,” reports the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).
If you use a space heater, make sure safety is your #1 concern. Follow these tips to keep your home and family safe and warm when the temperatures drop:
- Read the manufacturer’s directions and warnings before use.
- Never cover a space heater with a blanket, clothing, or anything flammable.
- Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn, such as comforters, bedding, clothing, upholstered furniture, and even papers.
- Only use space heaters on flat, hard surfaces. Don’t use them on carpet, tables, cabinets, chairs, desks, or dressers.
- Only plug space heaters directly into wall outlets. Do not use power strips or extension cords as these increase the risk of fires.
- Whenever a space heater is not in use, unplug it and safely store it away.
- Do not leave space heaters on and unattended.
- Turn space heaters off when you go to sleep.
- Install smoke alarms outside all bedrooms and on each floor of your home and test them out monthly.