Space heaters are an important part of many households during the cooler months. They make it possible to keep your home warm without turning up the thermostat. However, because space heaters use a lot of energy, you need to be careful how you use them. When not used properly, they can cause fires, hazards, or injuries. Here are 6 of our favorite space heater safety tips.
Keep the Space Heater on the Floor
A space heater is a great way to take the chill out of your home. But there’s one thing you should never forget – keep your space heater on the floor.
While placing a space heater on a table or countertop may be tempting, doing so increases the risk of someone getting burned by the heat. This is especially true if children are in your home, as they’re known for climbing onto tables and counters without thinking twice about it.
Equally, space heaters aren’t always safe to use on rugs. Some manufacturers specify that their products are only safe for hard surfaces like wood floors or tiles. Placing your space heater directly on carpets and rugs could lead to a fire. Please make sure to read all the instructions before using the heater and keep them handy for future reference.
Keep Flammable Objects Away
Space heaters are meant for rooms at least 20 feet by 20 feet. If your room is smaller than this, heat will not be able to spread and disperse evenly. Meaning that hot spots are more likely to develop, which can lead to burns or fires.
Don’t put anything flammable near your space heater — such as clothing or furniture — because it could ignite from the heat coming off the device. It’s still important to keep an eye on anything within reach of your space heater, even if it’s not flammable.
Never Leave the Space Heater Unattended
If you’re going to leave the room for any length of time, turn off and unplug your space heater. Leaving it on and plugged in creates a fire hazard because it can overheat and catch fire.
Most importantly, space heaters can tip over easily. Some models have wheels or casters that make them easy to move around. Unfortunately, this also makes them more likely to tip over if someone bumps into them or tries to move them without proper care.
A tipped-over space heater can result in a fire. Fires can cause extensive damage to property and personal injury from burns or smoke inhalation.
Don’t Use Power Strips or Extension Cords
If you’re running a space heater this winter, you might be tempted to plug it into an extension cord or power strip. Don’t do it!
The risks of doing so are too high for comfort. For one thing, the cords and plugs on extension cords and power strips are designed to handle relatively low voltages and currents from household appliances, not the high voltage spikes produced by space heaters.
Space heaters also produce a lot more heat than most other appliances. This can cause them to overheat and even catch fire if plugged into an extension cord or power strip.
Finally, extension cords and power strips often have an overloaded circuit breaker or fuse. If your space heater has an automatic shutoff device (which turns off when the unit overheats), that safety feature won’t work correctly.
Keep Kids and Pets Away
Kids are naturally curious. If you’re doing something, they want to try it too. Therefore, it is essential to keep children away from space heaters. Don’t allow kids or pets near any type of heater — electric or gas — no matter what type it is or where it’s located.
Children are still learning and may not understand that a heater can cause severe burns if touched. Flames and warmth can attract a child’s curiosity and lead to them touching the hot surfaces of the heater.
Pets are also drawn to warmth. Space heaters can easily topple over if pets jump on top of them. Make sure pets are supervised or kept in a separate room while using your space heater.
Never Put it Near Liquids
Never use a space heater near water, such as a bathtub, sink, or aquarium. Space heaters use electricity, which is very dangerous in water. Electricity and water do not mix well at all!
Another reason why you should never put your space heater near water is that if there’s a leak in your home and you have a space heater near it, it can cause an electrical short circuit.
Never use a space heater in bathrooms or other rooms with water sources, such as sinks or tubs. It may seem common sense, but unfortunately, it still happens!
Contact the Service Champion pros for all your home heating needs this winter.