Space heaters are a convenient way to warm up specific rooms in your home without having to crank up the thermostat, but using a space heater doesn’t come without risk! According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and based on statistics compiled from 2009 to 2013, 40 percent of home heating fires and 84 percent of home heating fire deaths involve either stationary or portable space heaters.
Use these tips to keep your home safe.
- Electric space heaters use a lot of electricity, so it is easier to overload a power strip or extension cord with one. Always plug them directly into the wall, as long extension cords can simultaneously be a fire and trip hazard.
- Avoid putting your space heater in a bathroom. High moisture environments can cause shorts and corrosion on any electrical device.
- Never leave a space heater unattended, always keep them a safe distance from flammable objects, and be sure to turn them off when leaving the house.
- Check space heaters cords before use. The power cord should not be frayed, brittle, or cracked.
- Turn space heaters and electric blankets off when not in use.
- Choose a space heater with a safety certification. Look for the UL, ETL, or CSA mark on the label. These verify that the product has been tested for safety.
- Choose a space heater that has guards from heating elements and automatically shuts off if it is tipped over.
- Space heaters should be kept at least 3 feet from blankets, clothing, paper, and other flammable materials.
- Place space heaters out of high-traffic areas and on a level, hard, non-flammable floor surface—NOT on carpets, furniture, or countertops.