One of the leading causes of house fires in the wintertime is the misuse of space heaters. If you’re thinking of supplementing your regular heating system with a space heater, you’ll want to follow the tips below.
Never Run Attended
One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make when using their space heater is running it when they’re not at home. With the growth of space heaters with built-in thermostats, many homeowners are leaving their space heaters on all the time. Whenever the room temperature drops below your set temperature, the space heater turns on. This may seem like a good idea on the surface, but it can actually be detrimental to your home.
It’s not uncommon for pets to knock over your space heater. Whenever you’re not home, the thermostat could cause your space heater to automatically turn on while it’s lying on the floor. This can easily lead to overheating and a house fire. Instead, always unplug your heater when you’re done using it. In addition, never have your space heater on when you’re sleeping.
Purchase One That Is Safety Certified
To ensure safe consumer operation, space heaters can undergo safety certification testing by three major consumer health companies. If the space heater is deemed safe after extensive testing, it will receive one of three labels. These include UL, ETL, and CSA. Make sure that whatever space heater you want to purchase has one of these safety certifications on its label.
Always Place on the Floor
Due to the fact that heat naturally rises, it’s a good idea to place your space heater on the floor. You want to be mindful of where exactly you place it so that it’s out of the way of any doorways or major traffic routes throughout your home. In addition, you want to make sure that whatever material the floor is made of that it’s not flammable. You don’t want to be placing your space heater on a carpet that is flammable as it will likely overheat and catch fire.
You also want to be mindful of where you position the cord for your space heater. Avoid trying to hide it underneath carpeting or furniture. Not only does this create a tripping hazard, but it can also cause the wiring to overheat and result in a fire. It’s best to position your cord out of the way and visible for those walking in the area.
Don’t Use Power Strips
It’s essential to realize that space heaters draw a lot of power to run effectively. Many power strips and even extension cords are not rated to handle the amount of power that your space heater needs to pull to run. It’s best to avoid using either of these options. Rather, you want to plug your space heater directly into a wall outlet and make sure that the other outlet is not in use.
Give It 3 Feet
When positioning your space heater in a room in your home, it’s a good idea to pay attention to what’s around it. You’ll want to give it a good 3 feet of open space the whole way around the entire space heater. This helps to prevent the unit from overheating and ensures that it doesn’t catch any flammable objects on fire. Make sure that you’re looking out for all objects like curtains, bedding, or even photographs on the wall.
Make Sure It’s in Good Condition Before Each Use
Over time, your space heater can be susceptible to deterioration, depending on how long you’ve had your heater and how careful you are with its physical structure. The most obvious type of deterioration is that the cord becomes loose or exposes its wiring. Another problem may be that the actual housing on the space heater has started to crack in various areas.
Every time you go to plug your space heater in, you should be looking it over to check its condition. If you notice any of these wear and tear problems, it’s best to avoid using the space heater. Simply throw it out and invest in a new one.
Talk to Your Kids About Safety
As you know, space heaters can be quite dangerous when not utilized correctly. While you likely understand the dangers, it’s very unlikely that your children do as well. Rather, you’ll need to sit down and discuss the dangers associated with space heaters and create some boundaries for your children. These boundaries should include who is allowed to operate the space heater and what distance they should stay from the space heater at all times.
Consider Investing in the Pet Sense Safety Feature
If you have pets in your home, they can create a hazard when it comes to your space heater. Simply sitting next to it it may cause them to receive burns, and running around it may cause them to tip it over. One great safety feature that many newer space heaters have is referred to as Petsense.
There is a sensor inside the space heater that determines if anything comes too close to it. If it does, it will turn the space heater off to prevent it from burning or causing a fire. This can be a great safety feature to purchase for people who have young children as well as pets.
Get Tip-Over Protection
Another great safety feature that you may want to consider investing in is tip-over protection. This particular safety feature provides a sensor inside of the space heater that will shut the unit off if it senses that it’s no longer level. This can be an especially useful safety feature for homes with children and pets.
Look for Overheat Protection
Overheat protection is another safety feature that many space heater manufacturers are integrating into their newer models. This feature works by using an internal sensor inside of the space heater that pays attention to the heat of its internal components. Whenever it senses that the internal components are getting too hot, it will automatically shut off the unit for a specified period of time.
Consider Cool-Touch Housing
Another must-have safety feature for any new space heater is cool-touch housing. One thing that you may have noticed with older model space heaters is that they can get very hot when they’re run for long periods of time. Whenever you touch the outside of them, they can get to the point where they burn your skin. Investing in a space heater with cool-touch housing can allow the outside of your space heater to remain cool to the touch regardless of how often it runs. Again, this is a great option to invest in for houses with young children and pets.
Premier Heating Services
Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating provides premier heating services for the entire Hanover, MD, community. We’re also proud to take care of all of your indoor air quality, custom ductwork, heat pump, AC repair, AC maintenance, AC installation, furnace conversion, furnace repair, furnace maintenance, furnace installation, and commercial HVAC service needs. Call us today to schedule a consultation appointment.