Choosing, and Using, a Space Heater

What are the safest space heaters? Fall is here and with it comes the chilly weather. If there’s a room in your house that you just can’t get warm, you may want to consider a space heater. Space heaters are the perfect way to heat up a small or a single-occupied room to offset utility costs come winter. Portable space heaters can be perfect for rooms like home offices that may not be used very often. 

There are many types of heaters—from ceramic heaters and infrared heaters to oil filled radiator heaters—and some are more energy efficient than others. Ceramic heaters heat up a ceramic plate inside which evenly diffuses heat over an area. Infrared heaters heat up objects (people, furniture) rather than heating the space around them. Oil filled radiators are shaped like radiators and are filled with a heating element that warms oil that is circulated through the chambers. 

A 1,500 watts space heater can heat approximately 150 square feet. Consider this when choosing a heater for your space. Another thing to consider in choosing a space heater is how many safety features it has. A safe space heater will have overheat protection and a tip over switch that automatically shuts it off if the unit is knocked into. Some space heaters are also cool to the touch, but not all—particularly oil filled radiator heaters. 

When unattended, be sure that—if the heater has one—the remote control is out of the reach of children, and that heat settings are set to off. It is very important when using electric space heaters to never use extension cords. They increase the risk of overheating and fire, so always plug them directly into a wall outlet. 

Finally, make sure that heaters are at least 3 feet away from anything flammable like papers, clothing, or furniture; and be sure to have a smoke alarm on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Space heaters can make a room warm and cozy, but if used improperly they can be a hazard in the home. Follow all directions and warning labels and use common sense and you’ll be able to stay warm AND safe.