Space heaters can be great for adding extra heat to small areas or making drafty spots cozier. But along with their benefits, space heaters add real fire risk to your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), space heaters account for about 43 percent of home heating-related fires and 4 out of 5 home heating fire deaths. It’s important to follow space heater fire safety guidelines, if you’re going to use this type of equipment in your home.
Space Heater Safety Tips
- Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from your space heater. This includes the wall. Space heaters typically come with longer cords so that they can be positioned in open areas away from the wall and outlet.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around space heaters. Keep kids and pets a safe distance away.
- Never leave space heaters on while sleeping. You should also turn them off when leaving the room.
- Test your smoke alarms at least once a month to make sure they’re working properly.
- Make sure your space heater has been tested and approved by an independent laboratory like Intertek (ETL seal) or Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL).
- Only place space heaters on the floor. Never place them on a table or other elevated surface.
- Don’t use space heaters in rooms with water – like bathrooms and kitchens. Water and electricity don’t mix.
- Only plug your space heater directly into the wall outlet – not into surge protectors, drop cords, etc. – otherwise you risk overloading the circuit.
Modern Safety Features
Many modern space heaters come with safety features like adjustable thermostats, timers and a tip-over safety switch. Be sure and research options before making a purchase, so you can use a space heater as safely as possible. If you follow these space heater safety tips, you can enjoy the benefits off a little added coziness this winter!
These tips apply to portable space heaters. If you are looking to add a stationary space heater to your home, be sure and consult an expert for professional installation. And, as with all electrical items in your home, if you have safety concerns, it’s best to have an electrician do an inspection. Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010 for professional assistance.