Fire Prevention Week: Space Heater Safety Tips
Space heaters can be a great way to add extra heat to your home without having to turn up the thermostat for the entire house. However, space heaters are responsible for around 25,000 house fires every year. To greatly reduce your risk of experiencing a house fire, it’s important that you follow the safety tips provided below in regards to your space heater usage.
Only Plug Into a Wall Outlet
To ensure that your space heater works correctly, you’ll want to plug it directly into a wall outlet. Avoid plugging anything else into the outlet as it could overload your electrical system. You should never use electrical cords or power strips when it comes to your space heater. It’s very likely that the space heater will overload both of these options and create a fire inside of your house.
Get Overheat Protection
While you don’t have to invest in a top-of-the-line space heater, you do need to invest in one that has some basic safety features to protect your home and your family. Overheat protection is one of those safety features that will automatically turn your space heater off whenever it senses that it’s overheating. This will prevent the unit from starting an electrical fire.
Get Tip-Over Shut-Off
Another must-have safety feature for any space heater that you purchase for your home is tip-over shut-off. Whenever your space heater senses that it’s no longer level, it will automatically shut off. This will protect your space heater from overheating from a lack of airflow when it’s not in an upright position.
Only Run It When You’re Home
A good rule of thumb to follow is to never run a space heater if you’re not at home to watch it. This includes not running it whenever you’re sleeping. Yes, they do make space heaters with built-in thermostats that can turn on and off on their own. However, these thermostats can fail and cause the unit to run continuously.
Place Your Heater Low
It’s best to place your space heater in the lowest position possible in your room. This helps to produce heat that is felt at the bottom of the room first and makes its way up toward the ceiling as it naturally rises. Make sure that you don’t place your space heater on any surface that could be flammable. This includes carpeting, cabinets, coffee tables, and other furniture.
Keep Your Heater Out of the Way
You don’t want your space heater to be a tripping hazard for anyone or any pet in your home. It’s best to position it well out of the way of doors and highly trafficked areas. A good rule of thumb is to position your space heater at least 3 feet away from any object that is flammable. This includes curtains and magazine racks.
Newer space heaters can come with child-sense protection. Whenever the space heater senses that someone is within a couple of feet of it, the unit will shut off. This is to prevent any child from getting extremely burned from your space heater. Child-sense protection can also be great for homes with pets.
Have Working Smoke Detectors
A great method to help ensure that you’re alerted if there is a fire caused by your space heater is to install smoke detectors. These should be installed outside each bedroom, and there should be at least one smoke detector on every floor of your home. Be sure to test each smoke detector once a month to ensure that it’s working. When the batteries are low, make sure that you get them replaced immediately.
Examine Your Space Heater Regularly
You should regularly look over your space heater to see if there are any problems before you use it. You’ll want to be looking for any cracks in the physical casing of the unit and any wiring that may be frayed or exposed. If there is a problem, it needs to be remedied before you turn the unit back on for use.
Never Use in Wet Rooms
Space heaters are designed to be utilized in dry rooms of your home. You should never use them in wet rooms like your kitchen or bathroom. The combination of water and electricity could cause potential electrocution. Just because you move the space heater away from the faucet area doesn’t mean that water on your hands can’t fly into the space heater and result in issues.
Opt for Units With Plastic Exteriors
When you’re shopping for space heaters, you’ll notice that the large majority of them are going to be made with plastic exteriors. These are the preferred choice over metal units. The metal space heaters can potentially burn you whenever the heater gets hot. This is because metal naturally transfers heat while plastic does not. Even if you don’t plan on touching the exterior of your space heater while it’s running, you never know if your children will or your pet may accidentally brush up against it. It’s best to play it safe and always opt for a plastic unit.
Make Sure It’s Been Professionally Tested
Whenever you purchase a new appliance for your home, it’s important that you check to make sure that it has been professionally tested. There are a few different organizations that work to test the safety of these appliances for consumers. The most common proof of testing that you’re going to see is a silver label with a UL on it. This means that the space heater has been professionally tested for optimal safety by the Underwriters Laboratories. This is a globally recognized brand for consumer safety.
Use It for Supplemental Heat
Space heaters are by no means intended to fully heat your entire home. Rather, they are meant to be used as a supplemental source of heat for specific rooms. They can be ideal for heating up your living room to a slightly higher temperature than the rest of your home since that’s where your family spends most of their time.
It’s important that you never use a space heater as your sole source of heat for your home. Your space heater will be constantly running and likely overheat. You should never use your space heater for drying out your clothes, cooking your food, thawing your pipes, or even warming your bedding. It’s solely intended just to provide extra heat for a particular room in your home or apartment.
Set Boundaries for Your Kids
A space heater is an appliance in your home that is reserved for use by adults only. You should sit down with your children and discuss the dangers of a space heater. Institute a boundary rule that your children will need to follow, such as always remaining at least 3 feet away from the space heater at any time that they’re in that room. Simply taking the time to inform your children can help to save them from the dangers associated with space heaters.
Trustworthy Heating Services
C & C Heating & Air Conditioning offers trustworthy heating services in the Roseville, MI, area. We’re here to answer all your questions about heating safety. We also provide a full range of cooling services. Other services we provide include those related to duct cleaning and indoor air quality. Call us today to get the heating services that you need!