When the weather begins to get frosty, many people turn to a space heater for relief from the cold. And it makes sense to use a space heater in many cases. If you only need a small area like a bedroom or living room to be warmed, then why turn up the heat throughout the house?
Unfortunately, space heaters get a bad rap because of their role in home fires. In fact, space heaters start thousands of fires a year.
But that doesn’t mean you should go ahead and toss out your space heater. Nearly all of those fires are preventable. Just follow some basic safety precautions and you’ll be fine.
1. Do Your Research
That means you want to look for a “UL” mark on the space heater before you buy. This indicates that it’s been tested for safety by an independent organization.
It also means looking for a model with an automatic shutoff. This will shut the space heater down if something goes wrong and it begins to overheat.
2. Follow All The Instructions
Read the manual that comes with it and follow all of the instructions exactly. Don’t use space heaters indoors that are meant for outside use only. These are usually gas or oil heaters, and they should stay outside in open spaces.
3. Check The Cords On Your Space Heater
But your first thought should be to keep those cords in good shape for as long as possible. Don’t put them under rugs or carpet, as doing so can cause you to step on them and abrade the cord. Even when they’re placed over carpet, avoid stepping on the cord.
Don’t use your space heater if the cord is damaged.
If your space heater allows for an extension cord, be absolutely sure that you’re using the proper extension cord. Many space heaters should not be used with an extension cord. Remember to only do as the manual tells you, and if there’s any doubt, just move the space heater to a closer outlet and skip the extension cord.
4. Place It Properly
Anything that can burn–whether it’s drapes, bedding, furniture, or something else–should be at least three feet away from the space heater. That’s three feet of clearance all around the space heater, and the farther away, the better.
Also, don’t place it in a young child’s bedroom, and help your children understand the importance of keeping the three-foot clearance around the space heater.
5. Use It Properly
Your space heater shouldn’t be your main source of heat. This is one of the reasons that space heaters overheat and cause fires. Warming a room for a little while is fine, but you need to turn the space heater off before you go to bed.
Never leave the house with your space heater still on, and unplug it when it’s not in use.
Space heaters often get a bad rap because using them improperly can create a fire hazard. But that doesn’t have to be the case. If you follow the instructions and use your space heater safely, you’ll be fine–and quite warm–this winter.
If you’ve got questions about your choices for heating your home, then contact The Heater Guru today, and we can talk about your options for keeping warm this winter.