As winter conditions persist, you may be tempted to pull out your space heater to combat frigid temperatures.
However, it is important to use your heater safely as it can pose a major fire risk. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to operating your space heater, and make sure you have a plan in place in the event of a fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment, such as your space heater, is the second-leading cause of home fires each year from December through February. For some, space heaters may be the primary way in which to keep warm. To avoid becoming part of this statistic, be sure to incorporate the following space heater safety tips in your home:
- Avoid using space heaters to warm bedding, thaw pipes or dry clothing.
- Look for the Underwriters Laboratories label when selecting a space heater.
- Keep flammable items, such as curtains, away from the space heater as they are a fire hazard.
- Do not leave your space heater unattended for extended periods of time, such as when leaving the house or going to bed.
- Keep children and pets away from your space heater to prevent harmful burns.
- If fuel is required, turn off your heater and let it cool before refueling.
- Place your heater on a hard, flat surface.
Electric vs Gas Heaters
The type of space heater you have plays an important role in fire prevention. Electric space heaters are generally safer than ones that burn fuel, such as propane or gas, and are also more portable. This does not mean that electric space heaters are entirely safe, as they still play a role in house fires each winter. Keep the following tips in mind when operating an electrical space heater.
Opt for safety features: Purchase a unit with safety features such as automatic shut-off and heating guards.
Maintain electrical wiring: Check for fray insulation, broken wires and overheating of your space heater. Have your unit replaced or serviced if you find any of these issues. If you need a power strip, make sure it is the correct gauge size and type for the space heater.
Choose a spot carefully: Be mindful of which wall outlet you use for your space heater. Avoid high traffic areas, such as walkways or common rooms. This prevents tripping hazards that could tip your space heater, causing an unwanted fire or injury.
Staying warm is a priority in winter, and it is easy to overlook safety for comfort. Even if you take the necessary safety measures with your space heater, there will always be risk. Read the instructions and warning labels that come with your space heater to ensure proper use. Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly and have ample battery life in the event a fire takes place.
For more information and tips on how to keep your home safe while using a space heater, contact us today!
Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.