Many people use space heaters to warm up locations that don’t get enough adequate heat from the main heating source. These locations can include drafty rooms in your home or office space. However, when space heaters are not properly utilized, they can be dangerous.
For Fire Prevention Week, we will cover some tips on space heater safety so that your home and your family stay warm without putting yourself in danger.
Fire Prevention Week
Fire Prevention Week starts on October 3, 2021, and was designed to educate people about how to reduce fire hazards around the home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has hosted the holiday for the last 99 years. This year’s theme is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety,” but all fire safety topics will be covered during different events.
You don’t need to attend official events to get involved. Just do your part by taking time to learn a little more about fire safety on your own, especially if you plan to use a space heater.
Dangers of Space Heaters
After unattended cooking, space heaters are the second leading cause of fires in the home. The danger comes from the high electrical output as well as the heat generated by the small, portable appliance. If you plug a space heater into an outlet that can’t support the electrical current that space heaters generate, it can result in an electrical fire. The heating components can also create a fire if they come into contact with combustible liquids or paper.
Not all fires are preventable, but you can prevent most fires, especially when it comes to fires that result from using a space heater.
Tips on Space Heater Safety
While space heaters can sometimes create a hazard, they still offer a great heating solution for small spaces and when whole-home heating isn’t available.
Here are some tips on how to use a space heater safely.
1. Never Leave a Space Heater Unattended
Whenever you use a space heater, you want to stay in the room with it, similar to when you cook. When you leave a room, you should turn the space heater off, even if you plan to return to the room shortly. Not only should you turn the space heater off, but you should also properly unplug the item from the outlet.
2. Plug the Space Heater Directly Into the Wall
If you want to make your space heater reach farther than the cord it comes with allows, you may want to use an extension cord. However, not all extension cords can support a space heater. Even more dangerous is using an extension cord that has damage to it, such as chew marks from a pet or deterioration due to age. It’s important to plug the space heater directly into the wall. You should also be careful to place the cord in a safe location where it won’t get damaged or come into contact with liquid, especially flammable liquid.
3. Keep a Space Heater in a Safe Place
Location is key when it comes to safely using a space heater. You will want to place the space heater in a location that will heat the area the best, but you also want to stay safe. Make sure that the space heater has a stable footing. Accidents can happen if it unexpectedly falls or topples over thanks to a precarious foundation. You also need to be careful about placing the space heater around anything flammable. Ensure that the space heater can’t come into contact with newspapers, books, paper table coverings, and flammable curtains/cloths.
If possible, it’s best to keep the space heater above ground in the case that something spills, it won’t come into contact with the space heater.
4. Use the Right Space Heater
There are a couple of types of space heaters. Choosing the right space heater allows you to get the best results and stay safe.
Here are the four main types of space heaters and when to utilize them:
Fan-forced heaters – A fan distributes hot air generated by hot coils. Popular in situations when people want heat distributed quickly.
Ceramic heater – Similar to a fan-forced heater, this heater has a ceramic covering around it to prevent it from getting hot to the touch, making it ideal for use around children and pets.
Radiant heater – Instead of hot coils in a heating element, this type of heater uses water or oil to transfer the heat, great for larger spaces since they retain heat the longest.
Infrared heater – Infrared bulbs generate the heat, but the low heat production makes this type of heater best for individuals in small spaces.
It can be dangerous to use a powerful space heater in a small location. If the space heater has multiple settings, be sure to put the space heater on the correct setting.
5. Learn Your Heater’s Electrical Requirements
When you get your space heater, make a point to check the electrical requirements. The higher voltage generates more power (and heat), but the extra power can be dangerous. Most home outlets support 120v. If your space heater requires a higher voltage, you may need to upgrade a specific outlet. You also want to be careful not to overpower a single circuit by plugging additional items into the circuit at the same time.
6. Only Use as Directed
Some people get creative with their space heater and use it in unconventional ways, such as using it to heat food or dry soaked items. Using a space heater as a solution for drying, cooking, or anything else not specified in the user manual can lead to dangerous results. Only use your space heater as directed to avoid unfortunate accidents.
7. Check Smoke Detector
You should check that your smoke detector has battery life and works properly. You should do this around your house at least once a year, taking special care to test the smoke detectors in the location that you plan to use the smoke detector.
8. Buy a Space Heater With Safety Features
Many new space heaters have safety features that make them much safer than previous models. If you see a UL Label on the packaging, you know that it passes the Underwriters Laboratories certifications.
Some of the common safety features include:
- Overheat Protection
- Low-oxygen Sensor
- Tip-Over Switch
Professional Heating Services
Avoid the need for a space heater by providing adequate heating for your residential or commercial building. Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating offers heating services in Flower Mound, TX, and Irving, TX, including heating repair, heating maintenance, heating replacement, and heating installation.
Simply express what matters the most to you in your heating solution, whether it’s safety, energy efficiency, power, or cost-effectiveness, and a professional technician can help you come up with the best solution for your home.
Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating also offers air conditioning services and air quality services in Irving, TX, and Flower Mound, TX, providing everything you need in terms of home comfort. Contact us today for more information.