With space heater safety in the news, it’s a good time to go over some space heater safety tips.
According to the consumer product safety commission, portable space heaters are responsible for an average of 1,200 house fires every year.
Home heating system fires can be deadly; causing 490 civilian deaths, 1,400 civilian injuries, and one billion dollars in direct property damage.
The National Fire Protection Association lists heating as the second leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries every year.
To prevent becoming a statistic, here are a few things to know about space heaters and how to use them.
- Always be sure your space heater is a recent model that is UL rated. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is a global safety certification company that ensures the safety of electronics, such as electric heaters. They do safety testing on space heaters and thousands of other electric appliances.
- When plugging in space heaters make sure to always plug them directly into a wall outlet, never into extension cords or power strips. Using a power strip can cause the outlet to overheat, leading to it short circuiting or potentially catching fire. Never try to override the safety features of a space heater such as automatic shut off or tip over switches. Those features are there for your safety. Remember, the heating element in a space heater can get up to 600 degrees, which can very easily cause a house fire.
- Never leave a space heater unattended, and keep it at least 3 feet from furniture, rugs, beds, clothing and curtains. A three foot rule is standard.
- Make sure your space heater isn’t a tripping hazard and is kept away from young children and pets.
- If your space heater or its power cord is hot to the touch, turn it off and unplug it ASAP. Don’t plug it back in until you’ve had it repaired, or you can replace it with a new heater. Do not donate an overheating space heater to charity. You don’t want to pass on the danger to another family.
Remember, when it’s cold outside, a space heater can help take the edge off a chill and create a comfy living area, but it is important to stay safe while using them to prevent the risk of fire or death.