Safety Tips for Using a Space Heater Inside of Your Home
Space heaters are becoming a popular way to provide supplemental heat without jacking up your energy bill. However, these heaters can result in a house fire if they’re not used correctly. By following the tips that we’re going to go over below, you can safely operate your space heater to get more heat for your home.
Make It Electric
You can purchase space heaters that use different types of fuel. The most common are electric, oil, propane, and gas. Due to the fact that you’ll be using the space heater in an enclosed space, it’s always a good idea to opt for an electric-powered one. Avoid gas, oil, and propane because these types of space heaters need to have adequate ventilation in order to be safe. Otherwise, they can create harmful gases that can be damaging to your respiratory health.
Position It on the Floor
The best space to put your space heater is down on the floor. This allows the heat to warm up the floor and then naturally rise to the top of the room. Make sure that you don’t place the heater on any flammable surface like carpeting. Rather, you want to place it on vinyl, laminate, or hardwood flooring that will not be damaged as a space heater is producing a large amount of heat.
Keep 3 Feet of Space
When you’re placing your space heater, you should be mindful of what’s around it. You’ll want to have 3 feet of open space around the entire unit. This helps to ensure that it can receive proper airflow. Without adequate space for airflow, your space heater can overheat. In addition, flammable objects that are too close can actually catch fire.
Be Mindful of Cord Placement
You should always keep the cord for your space heater free from being enclosed as it could get too warm if it is stuck underneath something like a carpet. You should also make sure that your cord is easily visible for people walking around in your home. Don’t pull your cord underneath the carpet where someone could accidentally trip over it.
Only Use a Wall Outlet
When you’re plugging in your space heater, it can be easy just to plug it into a power strip that you have laying around. This isn’t a good idea as the space heater could actually cause the power strip to catch fire. The same holds true with using an extension cord. It’s best to stick to plugging your space heater into an actual wall outlet. You should also avoid using the other outlet for the receptacle as you don’t want to overload it.
Avoid Having Water Near It
Water and electricity naturally don’t mix. For this reason, you should be very mindful of where you place your space heater in regard to water sources throughout your home. You should never place space heaters in the bathroom or in the kitchen where there is water readily available. It’s also important to note that you should never put a space heater in your basement if it’s prone to flooding, even just sometimes.
Invest in Proper Safety Features
To help consumers be safer when using space heaters, manufacturers have created a variety of new safety features. A must-have safety feature is overheating protection. This simply turns off your space heater in the event that it senses it’s getting too hot.
Another great feature is tip-over protection. This automatically shuts your space heater off in the event that it senses it’s been knocked over. This prevents it from running on the ground and overheating or catching something flammable on fire.
Make Sure Your Smoke Detectors Are Working
You should never run a space heater without having smoke detectors that are working inside of your home. It’s a good rule of thumb to have a smoke detector outside your bedrooms and at least one on every floor of your house. Make sure that you test your detectors at least once a month and replace the batteries whenever they’re running low.
Opt for Plastic Over Metal
When you’re looking at the right space heater to purchase, you want to be mindful of the material on the outside of the unit. This housing material should be made of plastic or similar material that stays cool to the touch while you’re running your space heater. Don’t opt for purchasing a space heater that has metal housing as it can get extremely hot and burn you when you touch it.
Inspect Yours Regularly
It’s always good practice to check over your space heater before you plug it in. You want to make sure that the cord is still in good condition without any bare wires showing. Also, make sure that the actual housing of the space heater has no cracks in it. It’s best to repair these issues or purchase a new space heater instead of just using a defective one.
Only Run It When You’re at Home and Awake
You should never be running your space heater when you’re not at home to watch it. Due to the nature of the amount of heat that it produces and the possibility of it creating a fire, you don’t want to leave it up to chance. It’s also never a good idea to run your space heater whenever you’re sleeping. You don’t have the same responsiveness when sleeping as you do when you’re awake.
Unplug After Each Use
It’s good practice to regularly unplug your space heater after you’re done using it. This helps to prevent it from being accidentally turned on by either a thermostat, child, or something else. This also helps to ensure that the cord stays safe from damage in between uses.
Make Sure It’s Certified Safe
There are three main safety organizations that are responsible for testing appliances like space heaters to ensure that they’re safe to have inside homes. Whenever these space heaters are tested and approved, they’ll receive a certification from one of these nationally recognized testing laboratories.
The most common are UL from Underwriters Laboratories, ETL from Intertek, and CSA from the Canadian Safety Association. Never purchase a space heater that doesn’t have one of these certifications on the box as it could be highly unsafe to use in your home.
Teach Children the Dangers and Set Rules
As an adult, you can logically assess the dangers that come along with a space heater. However, your children are likely not able to do so. For this reason, it’s imperative that you take the time to sit down with your children and discuss the dangers of the space heater. You’ll want to set rules as far as how close they can come to it and whether or not they’ll be allowed to control it. By addressing these issues head-on, you can reduce your child’s risk of being injured as a result of your space heater.
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