As the temperature continues to drop, many homeowners turn to space heaters for quick and cost efficient warmth. However, space heaters have long been known as the cause of numerous home fires and even fatalities. In fact, the U.S. Fire Administration has cited space heaters as a leading cause of home fires during winter months. In past years, there has been approximately 600 deaths and 1,500 injuries due to space heater malfunctions. If you do choose to use a space heater to warm your home this winter, be sure to familiarize yourself with this important information.
Types of Space Heaters
There are four types of space heaters: kerosene space heaters, portable electric space heaters, wood burning heaters, and gas space heaters. Each type of device requires its own maintenance and operation procedures, as well as, its own set of safety precautions. Before operating a space heater in your home be sure to identify which type of device you have and the proper care and safety methods it requires.
Space Heater Safety Tips
After thoroughly reading your space heater’s instruction manual, follow these easy tips to help keep your home and family safe.
- Always keep space heaters at least 3 feet from any flammable materials (rugs, drapes, bedding, and clothing).
- Keep space heaters away from areas with water in order to reduce the risk of electric shock. If you plan on using your space heater in the bathroom be sure that the instruction manual permits this.
- Never use a space heater in a room where children are unsupervised. This may put them at risk of being burned or shocked.
- Always plug your space heater directly into its own electrical outlet. Do not use an extension cord or overload an outlet with too many other devices.
- TURN OFF, UNPLUG and STORE your space heater every time you are finished using it and especially before you leave your home.
For more in-depth information on space heaters and electrical safety check out the Electrical Safety Foundation International.