Electric Space Heater Safety
Do you use an electric space heater to add extra warmth to your home? Before you rely on a space heater to keep your home warm, there are some important safety factors to consider. Space heaters account for two of every five (40%) of home heating fires, reports the National Fire Protection Association.
In general, small space heaters should only be used as a temporary heating solution when a main heating system is broken or not operating efficiently. At times, they are used when central heating costs too much to operate.
In some cases, small space heaters can be less expensive to use if you only want to heat one room or supplement inadequate heating in one room. They can quickly boost the temperature of rooms used by individuals sensitive to cold, such as the elderly, without increasing strain on the furnace that heats your entire home.
Electric space heaters are generally more expensive to operate than other varieties, but they are the only vent-free space heaters that are safe to operate inside your home. While electric space heaters do not pose a carbon monoxide risk, they still present burn and fire hazards.
When buying and installing an electric space heater, you should always follow these safety guidelines from Energy.gov:
Electric heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet.
- If you must use an extension cord, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord that is 14-gauge wire or larger.
- Buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if the unit is tipped over.
- Only purchase newer model heaters that have all of the current safety features. Look for the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label on the heater.
- Do not purchase oversized heaters for the room you wish to heat (most heaters come with a general sizing table).
- Place the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep children and pets away from the heater.
Do you find yourself relying on space heaters more and more? Your furnace might not be operating up to par. Give our associates at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning a call. We can evaluate your existing heater’s performance to make sure it’s not draining your electric bill. Count on them to make any necessary repairs or upgrades to keep you warm and toasty all winter long!