February 12, 2018

Safety tips for using a space heater

Only electric space heaters should ever be used inside the house. While useful, space heaters require clear space around them to be safely operated, they must be protected from water, and you can’t forget to turn them off when you leave the room.

Even when your furnace is working perfectly, sometimes it’s nice to bring an extra bit of warmth into a room with an electric space heater.

Space heaters can help you warm up a room quickly, but they can also be a dangerous safety hazard if they aren’t handled with appropriate care. If you plan on using a space heater to help keep your bedroom or living room extra toasty in the winter months, please keep the following safety tips in mind at all times.

Fuel burning heaters belong outside

You should only ever use an electric heater inside your home, and even they must be monitored at all times. Fuel burning space heaters are intended for open-air use and should never be brought into the house, even if you are undergoing furnace maintenance and have no other source of heating. Using a fuel burning space heater inside could expose your family to carbon monoxide or other poisonous gases. For the safety of you and your loved ones, it’s always best to stick with smaller, electric space heaters.

Keep heaters pointed away from furniture or walls

It is recommended to keep your space heater on a surface that is hard, level and non-flammable, such as concrete or ceramic flooring. You should try and leave at least one meter of unimpeded space in front of the heater, as the heat emanating from the device is powerful enough to quickly set objects placed too closely on fire. Be especially careful with things like drapes, furniture and clothing that could be damaged by the intense heat, or even start a fire.

Keep away from water or wet items

Space heaters don’t mesh well with water, so you should always position them as far away from any source of moisture as possible. Space heaters shouldn’t be used in bathrooms at all, unless they can be safely protected from water. Avoid using your space heater to dry clothes or bed sheets, as this can become a serious safety issue if your attention slips even for a brief moment.

Never let a heater out of your sight

A space heater should be used only for a limited time, and never left unattended. Space heaters are not well suited for regulating temperature for a longer period of time – not only is this very expensive, it can be dangerous when not actively monitored. When you’re looking for a space heater, here are some safety features to look for:

● automatic shut off when tipped over;

● overheat sensor that will shut it off when the temperature gets too hot; and

● a grill to protect fingers from getting too close to the heating element.

Whenever you are using a space heater to quickly warm up an area, be sure to turn it off before leaving that room, especially if you have kids or pets that could touch the hot surface or trip over the cables.


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