SPACE HEATER DANGERS
During the cold months, space heaters are a great way to warm a room in the absence of central heating. Portable heaters, however, can pose certain threats to your home. If left unattended, a space heater can easily cause a house fire or electrical overload. Remain safe and warm by remembering the following safety tips.
- Leave three feet of space around your heater to avoid igniting flammable material. Keep pets and children from disturbing the heater to avoid burns and injuries. Make sure to also remove any objects blocking air flow or covering cables or components.
- Avoid leaving a heater running throughout the day, especially unmonitored. It may overload a circuit, causing power failure or a fire. Any unusual sounds or malfunctions should be fixed right away.
- Don't use extension cords or power strips with a space heater. Plugging them directly into an outlet will help avoid a power overload.
- Avoid using a space heater in a humid environment such as a bathroom. Water in the air may cause complications with the machine, causing it to malfunction.
As you shop for a portable heater, look for a safety certification label from an independent testing organization and the following safety features to keep your home safe from fire damage.
- Shut-off features: A smart sensor will automatically shut off the machine when it overheats, and a tip-over switch does the same if the heater is knocked over.
- Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) plug: This plug helps prevent electric shock. If your heater does not come equipped with one, avoid using it around moist areas.
- Sturdy cord: Many heaters come with a cord around 6 feet long. Make sure it has a sturdy design and reaches the desired areas. Remember, extension cords or power strips can cause electrical issues.
Educating yourself about the safety hazards that come with the improper use of portable heaters will help you achieve better peace of mind as you keep your home warm and comfortable during this winter season.