We’ve had good luck with temperatures in the late fall, but now that winter is officially here temperatures are plummeting. That, combined with the cost of home heating fuel, means more people will be trying to save money by using space heaters. While this can work to save money, space heaters can still pose a threat of fire.
Here are some safety tips to ensure the safety of your family and pets during the colder weather and help to prevent a space heater fire.
Safety Certification: When purchasing a space heater, look for a safety certification from a well-known source, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Make Sure It Has Auto Shut Off: Auto shut-off features are beneficial to prevent overheating and hazards if the space heater tips over. Many fires occur when a space heater is knocked over.
Make Room: Make sure there is at least 3 feet of space around the space heater and anything that could set fire. Take care to remove flammable materials such as curtains, bedding, and clothing. Aside from cooking fires, space heater fires that start because they are placed too close to a combustible surface are the second most common type of house fire.
Keep Them Out of the Bathroom and Kitchen: Space heaters do not typically come with GFCI plugs. To prevent electrocution keep the heating unit away from water. Bathrooms and kitchens are a bad idea for electric space heaters.
No Extension Cords: Plug only the space heater into the wall outlet so as not to overload the circuit. Never use an extension cord with space heaters because the amount of power drawn from these units is too much for a low-amp extension cord to handle. It can cause the cord to overheat and spark a fire.
Keep It on the Floor: Keep the space heater on the floor, preferably wood or tile. Low-pile carpet is acceptable but stay away from high-pile and shag carpeting because it can easily catch fire. Heaters kept on shelves or tables can knock over and spark a fire.
Keep Away From Children and Pets: Kids and pets can be burned, electrocuted, or can start a fire by knocking it over or putting things like blankets and toys too close to the heater.
Turn Them off When Not in the Room: Make sure to turn off the heating unit when leaving the room or going to bed.
Check the Wires: Check for worn or frayed wires before using the space heater. Don’t use it if wires are worn or broken.
Even when we take precautions, accidents can happen. If you experience a fire in your home you can always rely on Branch Services to be there to clean it up.