How to Safely Use Space Heaters This Winter
When the air outside turns chilly, many of us reach for a space heater or combustion heater to stay warm. Unfortunately, space heater safety isn’t something many consider when they are cold. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 25,000 residential fires a year are attributed to these heaters. It is estimated that space heaters cause 300 deaths and 6,000 emergency room visits each year.
With a few simple steps, you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe and warm when you decide to use a portable space heater.
Space heater safety tips
Space heater safety starts before you even turn on the heater. Here are a few home safety tips to consider:
- Proper Placement: According to Mass.gov, it’s important to keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything flammable. This includes curtains, drapes, furniture, clothes, papers, and rugs. Heaters should be placed on a flat surface and never on a table, shelf, or piece of furniture.
- Power and Cords: Never use an extension cord with a heater. Check the plug and outlet to make sure both are in good working order. Replace a cracked plug or a frayed and worn cord.
- Smoke Alarms: If you use a space heater, make sure you have fire alarms on every floor of the house. You should have smoke detector coverage for all sleeping areas. Be sure that the alarms are in working order before you turn on the heater. If you use a combustion space heater, you should also have carbon monoxide detectors.
- Turn It Off: A responsible adult should be in the room when you have the heater turned on. Never leave a heater unattended, and never leave it on while you are asleep. Also make sure to keep pets and children away from the heater when it is running. Remember, the heater will still be hot after it is turned off.
- Directions and Warning Labels: Make sure to read and closely follow all warning labels and manufacturers’ instructions. Always use a heater that has been tested by a nationally recognized testing company.
- Avoid Water: Never use electric heaters near water. This includes sinks. A heater should never be used in the bathroom.
Combustion space heaters
Special care should be taken with combustion space heaters, a type of space heater that uses kerosene and natural gas. Many states have banned indoor kerosene space heaters or unvented combustion space heaters, but they are still used in many regions.
If you do use a combustion space heater, keep in mind the heater can release combustion products like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides inside the home. Never use a combustion heater indoors unless it’s properly connected to a working flue vent.
Protecting your home and family in winter
Take these steps to ensure space heater safety in order to protect your home and everyone in it. By making home safety a priority, you can keep your family safe and comfortable when the days turn cold and the nights grow long.
At Electric Insurance, your safety is our priority. Homeowners insurance from Electric Insurance Company provides protection for your family. You can design and customize a policy that meets your needs.
Contact one of our Risk Coaches™ to help make sure you have the coverage you need. Call 800.342.5342, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. Or contact us by leaving a message on our website today!