Space Heater Safety for the Average Homeowner
Space heaters can be a godsend to keep certain rooms of your home warmer than others. However, they can be dangerous when you don’t use them correctly. If you’re new to using space heaters or just need a refresher, here are some helpful safety guidelines to keep your home and family safe.
Get a Safety Certified Space Heater
There are a few different consumer testing groups that help to ensure the safety of appliances that are put out on the marketplace. Whenever these products are tested and deemed safe, they will receive a certification in the form of a label on the box. The most common ones you’ll find will be CSA, ETL, and UL. It’s always advisable to purchase a space heater that has been certified by one of these organizations, as you can be assured that it will be safe to utilize inside of your home.
Plug Into Wall Receptacles
With the number of electronics that many people utilize in this day and age, it’s second nature to simply grab a power strip to get more outlets to use or an extension cord to reach the other outlets that the cord won’t. Unfortunately, this could lead to overheating, which will result in a house fire if you plug a space heater into one of these devices. You always want to plug your space heater directly into a wall receptacle. It’s also a good idea not to use the second plug on the receptacle as you don’t want to draw too much power from the circuit.
Place Your Heater on the Floor
When you start to pick out the place where you want to put your space heater, it’s important that you find a location on the floor. You don’t want to put it up high on a coffee table or cabinet as it can be easily knocked over. In addition, you want the heater to be lower to the ground as the heat will naturally rise over time.
The best type of floors to place a space heater on are hardwood and laminate. These provide a flat surface where your space heater can sit in a level position. You should avoid placing your space heater on any carpeting as it can be flammable when it gets too hot.
Leave Open Spaces Around the Heater
As you’re determining where you want to place your space heater on the floor, you want to put it in a position that allows for open airflow around the entire unit. A good rule of thumb is to keep it at least three feet away from any flammable object. Some of these objects include coffee tables, bookcases, and even curtains.
Make sure that the cord for the unit remains exposed. You never want to hide it underneath the carpet as this not only can create a tripping hazard, but it can also cause the cord to overheat. Make sure that you don’t place the unit in any major routes of travel or doorways as it could increase its chance of being accidentally knocked over and cause a house fire.
Use Your Space Heater for Supplemental Heat Only
Over the years, many people have gotten creative with using their space heater for other purposes. This is not only dangerous but can also result in a house fire. Your space heater is meant to be used to provide supplemental heat for a room in your home. It should never be used for cooking food, drying your laundry, or even thawing out frozen pipes.
Keep It Away From Wet Rooms
You should never place your space heater in a room that has water going to it. This includes your bathrooms, kitchen, and your laundry room. If your basement is susceptible to taking on water, you shouldn’t place it there either. Electricity coming into contact with water in any of these rooms can create deadly electrocution.
Stick to Electric Space Heaters
When you first start looking for the right electric heater for your home, you’ll notice that they come with different types of fuel requirements. Space heaters can run on electricity, oil, or even gas. When it comes to the indoor use of your space heater, you want one that runs solely on electricity. Getting a space heater that runs on gas or oil requires proper venting to get rid of harmful gases that they produce.
If you have pets or young children in your home, you don’t want them to be anywhere near your space heater when it’s running. Not only could they get burnt by touching hot parts of it, but they could also knock it over, which eventually could lead to a fire.
Fortunately, some space heater manufacturers have created a new safety feature called pet-sense. This safety feature allows the space heater to constantly sense anything that’s close to it. Whenever something gets too close, the space heater will automatically turn off.
Get Overheat Protection
Another safety feature that you can highly consider getting for your space heater is overheating protection. The safety feature works by having a sensor that monitors the temperature of the internal components of the space heater. Whenever these internal components get too hot, the space heater will naturally shut off to let them cool down. Considering the fact that most space heater fires are a result of the space heater overheating, this is a must-have safety feature for those looking to use a space heater inside of their home.
While a space heater may not be dangerous when it’s sitting up straight, it can be when it falls over. On its side, there is restricted airflow. In addition, it may be coming into contact with flammable objects. It’s best to invest in a space heater that has tip-over protection. Any time that your space heater senses that it’s not level, it will automatically turn off.
Inspect Your Heater Frequently
Your space heater needs to be in good condition every time you use it. Whenever you plug it in, it’s a good idea to take a couple of moments and look over the entire unit to make sure that it’s still in good condition. Start by looking at the cord to see if it’s still connected to the unit properly and make sure that there are no bare wires exposed. Next, look over the actual housing of the unit to see if there’s any sort of cracking or melting taking place anywhere. If you notice any problems with the unit, it’s best to get them repaired before you try to use it.
Only Run It When You’re Home and Awake
One of the biggest reasons that space heaters become dangerous is that they’re left unattended. You should always make it a general rule to be at home and in the room that you’re using your space heater in. Make sure that you’re awake and not sleeping while it’s running, as you won’t be able to respond quickly to any problems that may come up.
Excellent Heating Services
One Stop Heating and Air Conditioning provide excellent heating services for the entire Sandy, UT, community. We’re happy to take care of all of your furnace repair, furnace installation, furnace maintenance, AC repair, AC installation, AC maintenance, duct cleaning, and indoor air quality needs. Call us today to set up an appointment with our knowledgeable technicians.