If you’re trying to warm up a certain room, a space heater can be a great way to do that. However, the space heater’s effectiveness is dependent on you taking specific precautions while purchasing wisely so you don’t waste electricity (and money).
There are a few different types of heaters that can be used in your home. Electric space heaters are the only unvented space heaters safe for indoor use. They do not pose indoor air quality concerns, but can still be a fire hazard if not used safely. These should be plugged directly into a wall. If an extension cord is absolutely necessary, use a short heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or heavier. Look for a tip-over safety switch that shuts the unit off if it is turned over.
Vented combustion heaters, on the other hand, are made to be put next to an outside wall so the flue gas vent can be installed through a ceiling or wall (unvented combustion units are not recommended for indoor use). Only use the approved fuel and do not overfill the heater or fill when it is still hot. It is a good idea to have a vented space heater inspected by a professional each year to prevent issues that can cause high levels of carbon monoxide to enter your home.
In addition, below are a few more things to consider when buying or using a space heater.
- Look for newer models that have the up-to-date safety features. They should have the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
- Only buy what you need. You don’t need a huge heater for a small room. Look for a sizing chart on the box.
- Heaters should be put on level surfaces where they won’t be in anyone’s way. Always keep pets and children far away.
- Kerosene heaters are not recommended in your home, and in some communities, may even be illegal to use.
- Remember to install or check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms!
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