If you live in an older drafty home or have rooms in your home that need supplemental heat, electric space heaters are a great way to increase your comfort. But it is essential to understand that while these devices offer a much-needed service, they can also be dangerous if not used properly. House fires, electrical shocks, and other injuries occur each year when homeowners become less focused on this heater’s safe use. But you can avoid accidents and injuries and simply enjoy the added warmth in your home by following just a few safety tips.
Choose The Location Carefully
While you want to have the space heater close enough to enjoy the added heat, you also need to be sure that it is not too close to anything. Leave at least three feet of clearance on all sides of the space heater. These units can be hot enough to burn a person or a pet. So be watchful when they are in a room with a functioning space heater. Also, try to locate the unit where the cord will not become a tripping hazard. Not only could that injure someone, but it could also lead to the heater being knocked over and starting a fire.
When selecting the location for your space heater, be sure that it is sitting on a level, stable surface. Most units have a safety shut off if they tip over. But you should never rely on that for the protection of your loved ones. If the heater is sitting on the carpet, check the carpet near the unit occasionally to ensure that it is not getting too hot and becoming a fire hazard.
Electrical Safety Tips
Only use an electric space heater that has been tested and approved by a safety testing lab such as UL or ETL. The testing company’s logo should appear on the electrical cord to verify the safety of the unit. And never use an extension cord for a space heater. Many cords are not rated to handle the power demanded by space heaters. After the unit is plugged into an outlet and has been operating for a short time, check the plug and outlet to ensure they are not hot. If either is getting warm to the touch, turn off the unit and unplug it. And finally, never run the space heater cord under rugs or furniture. The cords can overheat and start a fire.
Only Use As A Supplement
A small space heater is perfect for added warmth to your already heated home. But these devices are not designed to provide your primary heating. Running a space heater for an extended period of time increases the possibility of overheating and a house fire. Also, never leave the unit unattended when it is turned on. And never rely on an electric space heater to provide extra heat overnight when you are asleep.
Space heaters are to blame for about 15% of all house fires annually. And over 10,000 fires start each year due to improper or unsafe use of a space heater. If you choose to supplement your heat and comfort level with an electric space heater, understand the safety features of the unit you are using. And follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for use.
If you discover electrical issues when operating your space heater, turn it off, unplug it, and immediately call (813) 359-1944. Dimming lighting, crackling sounds from the outlet, or a hot electrical outlet indicate a serious safety hazard. A Mr. Electric pro is always available to take your call and dispatch a licensed electrician to your home.