It’s getting colder out and that means it’s time to start turning on those space heaters. Maybe you’re not ready to turn on the heat in your entire home, or maybe you live with someone that’s constantly cold. Either way, space heaters can be helpful when a specific room or person needs a little extra warmth.
Although space heaters are beneficial, they can also be hazardous. According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters accounted for over 2 of every 5 home-heating fires (43%) and 4 out of 5 home-heating fire deaths (85%). Follow these tips whether your heater is brand new or used so your winter is happy and safe!
Inspect the Space Heaters
If your heater has been sitting in the dusty attic, wet garage, or a random closet, inspect the heater for any dust build-up or damage. When you plug in the heater for the first time, it’s pertinent to clean off the dust so it doesn’t create a fire. If the heater has been sitting in a space that has flooded or leaked, it potentially could be compromised and may not be safe to use.
Next, make sure to inspect the heater for any damage. If the electrical cord has tears, the plug has cracks or is bent, don’t use the heater. This could cause sparks and could create an electrical fire. If the connection is loose, you should not use the heater as it is also a faulty product.
Space Heater Use
After you’re done inspecting the heater and it seems safe to use, plug it in and get toasty! But don’t forget about your heater. An unattended space heater could be problematic in more ways than one. First, if the heater has been blowing consistently for a few hours, the appliance itself is going to be very hot. That means small children, pets, or even you could bump into it and burn yourself. Placement of the heater also matters as you do not want it within a 3-foot radius of anything that could catch on fire like shag carpets and rugs, paper, clothing, and other textiles (such as bed sheets).
It can also be problematic as it can potentially start a fire if left unattended. If you’re leaving the room, going to sleep, or completely leaving your house, it’s vital to shut off the heater. When you are done with the heater, unplug it completely from the wall.
Lastly, you should not use extension cords for your space heater. Depending on the kilowatts, the extension cord may not be able to handle the amount of electricity coming through to the space heater and could also catch on fire. If you must use an extension cord with your heater, be sure that it can withstand more electricity than necessary for the space heater.
Space heaters can be the perfect way to add a little extra warmth to your home during the winter. Although they come with many warnings and rules, you should still enjoy them! Just be sure to do it smartly and safely.