While not as efficient as your furnace, space heaters are very convenient. They can be moved around your home or even taken on the go during winter travel. However, space heaters can cause a lot of damage if they are used incorrectly. Because of this, we’re sharing our top 6 space heater safety tips.
Keep the Space Heater on the Floor
You should always keep your space heater on the floor. We know it’s tempting to put it on your desk or a table, but that’s actually a bad idea.
Desks and side tables are busy places, often with clutter like paper, books, or clothes strewn over them. If you accidentally bump into your heater while it’s operating and it falls over, you can start a fire. Especially if sparks or heat ignites nearby items, such as paper products or clothing materials.
Space heaters should be kept on smooth floors, such as hardwood or tile. The reason for this is because if there is a rug or carpet underneath the heater, it could overheat and catch fire.
Move All Flammable Objects Away
Keep your space heater away from flammable items like curtains, furniture, or anything else that can easily catch fire. This is particularly important if you have an open flame space heater. But even clothes or newspapers lying can catch fire easily if placed too close to an electric space heater.
Space heaters can get very hot, especially when first turned on. So always keep at least three feet of space between the heater and any combustible materials. Also, never store cleaning materials near your space heater. These products can catch fire easily.
Never Leave the Space Heater Unattended
There are many reasons why you should never leave your space heater unattended. The most obvious reason is the potential for a fire. When you leave a space heater on without supervision, something could cause it to spark or catch fire.
Another reason why you should not leave your space heater unattended is the risk of shock hazards. Any electrical issues with your heater could cause electrocution if you touch the unit while it’s still plugged in and turned on.
And let’s face it, we all know that leaving a space heater unattended can lead to burns if someone accidentally bumps into it or touches it before it has cooled down enough after being used for a long time.
Don’t Use Power strips or Extension Cords
Space heaters are designed to be plugged directly into a wall outlet. If you plug your space heater into an extension cord or power strip, it increases the risk of fire.
Power strips and extension cords aren’t meant to be used with high-wattage appliances like space heaters, which draw more energy than most home devices. When you plug your space heater into an extension cord or power strip, much of that energy is lost as heat instead of being delivered to the appliance. This can cause overheating or electrical shorts in the cord or strip.
Also, extension cords have no built-in surge protection. This means that if there’s a short circuit or electrical spike in your home, the extension cord could blow up and start a fire — even if the space heater isn’t near it.
Keep Kids and Pets Away
Children love to explore the world around them. And space heaters get very hot. If a child puts their hand on top of a space heater, they could get burned from touching the hot surface of the heater itself or from touching exposed wires inside the base of the heater.
Space heaters also pose a tipping hazard when placed near doors or windows. If your child accidentally knocks into a space heater, it could fall over and catch fire.
If you have pets, ensure they aren’t left unsupervised with a space heater. Even if they don’t lie on the floor where a space heater is, they can still get burned if they accidentally brush up against it while playing.
Never Put it Near Liquids
Never put your space heater near water or other liquids. Water and electricity don’t mix well, so never use a space heater near water or other liquids.
Even if your space heater has a tip-over switch designed to turn off the unit, if it falls over, you should still never place it near water. There’s no guarantee that the switch will work properly.
Lastly, never leave a glass of water or even a pot plant perched on top of your space heater. They’re easy to accidentally knock over and cause damage to your heater and home.
Contact the furnace experts at Moore Home Services for all your home heating needs this winter.