Space heaters can seem like a godsend when the temperatures drop to hitherto unheard-of levels. While space heaters are a convenient source of supplemental heat, using them has its own risks. In America, heating equipment is the second leading cause of fire in homes each year with more than 65,000 home fires attributed to heating equipment each year. Here are some safety precautions when using space heaters.
Equipment quality and condition
Make sure your space heater is functioning as intended. Check the cords and conditions of other pieces. If your unit shows warnings of erosion, have it assessed by a technician to verify that it is safe to use. Inspect the heater for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If there’s any sign of fray or damage, do not use the heater.
Also, make sure your space heater has a label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory. Before using it, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully. Organize routine inspection and maintenance just to be on the safe side.
Pick the best location
These are portable heating units that you can move from one position to another. Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from other stuff in the room like furniture, appliances, papers, blankets, curtains, and any flammable objects. Items that come into contact with a space heater can catch fire, particularly if made of flammable material.
Clear the space around the space heater also because they need room and airflow to properly operate. Place them on level, flat surfaces. Never place them on cabinets, tables, furniture, or on a carpet. They can overheat and start a fire.
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Switch it off
Try not to leave space heaters on for extended periods of time because it may cause overheating. Most new models have automatic shutoffs but older models don’t.
Make sure it is turned off before leaving the room and especially when you leave the room. Definitely switch it off when you go to bed. Using it only when you are present in the room and need the extra warmth will save you money in energy costs and reduce the risk of accidental fire. Unplug and store safely when not in use.
Homes with kids and pets
Keep space heaters out of reach of children. If the heater has to be in the same room as a child, communicate to them the importance of maintaining their distance. Admittedly, communicating the same to pets may present its challenges. Alternatively, purchase a modern model that is created with child safety enhancements in pace such as exteriors that do not burn.
Do not leave it turned on and unattended in a room with children and/or pets.
Connecting space heaters
These appliances require a lot of energy. For this reason, it is recommended that space heaters be plugged directly into an electrical outlet. Avoid using extension cords because they increase the chances of electrical shock, overheating, and fire. Always plug it directly into an outlet.
Avoid any water sources
Don’t use the heater in humid or damp areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. Critically, don’t touch it with wet hands to prevent electric shock.
Replace old units
People rarely replace space heaters, using them until they conk out and die. Older ones are more dangerous than newer ones. Old ones draw a lot of heat and become fire hazards. When buying a new one, select a new model. New models have features such as cool touch exteriors and automated shut-off. They also don’t require as much electricity, lowering the electric bill and minimizing the possibility of blown fuses.
A space heater can be a very beneficial appliance in your home, especially in the cold months. Read the instructions to make sure you know how it works before you even turn it on. Know what safety features it’s equipped with and take advantage of them. Stay warm and stay safe.
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