Staying Safe While Using Space Heaters in Colder Months

Staying Safe While Using Space Heaters in Colder MonthsIs there a place for a space heater in your home this winter? Central heating systems are designed to keep all parts of your house comfortable in cold weather. If your furnace isn’t getting the job done like it should, the first and best option is to have that issue evaluated by a qualified HVAC service professional. Where cold spots cannot be resolved, however, using a space heater can be a viable, though less efficient, method to keep warm.

Nearly 20,000 residential fires per year are caused by space heaters, resulting in an average of 300 deaths.

Here are some specific safety precautions to follow.

  • Make sure the heater has a safety certification label from a recognized testing organization such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories). Also, the unit should incorporate safety features including a tip-over switch as well as an overheat sensor.
  • Space heaters are designed to sit on a hard floor. Do not place them on tables or stands. The floor should be a level surface that is not flammable.
  • Don’t allow children or pets within a three-foot radius of the heater. Also, a space heater should never be utilized to heat a child’s room.
  • Most of the 25,000 annual space heater fires result from placing the unit too close to combustible materials. Never put a heater closer than three feet from flammable household items such as furniture, bedding, mattress and curtains.
  • Space heaters are not appropriate in workshops or garages. Fumes from flammable liquids stored there such as paint, gasoline, and solvents may ignite.
  • Always turn the heater off before you go to bed.
  • Check the heater’s power cord periodically for evidence of fraying, melting or other damage. Discontinue use of the heater is any damage is noted.
  • Don’t plug any additional electrical devices into the same outlet. Excessive current draw may overheat the wiring.
  • Functional smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home and tested monthly.

For advice about when and where to use a space heater, contact Paitson Bros. For over 96 years, we’ve been your choice for quality HVAC sales and service.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859.

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