Space heaters may seem like an excellent solution, but it is vital to use them safely and know the risks. Space heaters are responsible for 4 out of 5 home heating fire deaths. So, these devices can put your property and your family at risk.
This does not mean you need to avoid using a space heater, though. With these four safety tips, you can lower your risk:
Read the Instructions
Using a space heater may seem intuitive – it's often as easy as plugging it in and turning it on. But, not all models are made equal. Before turning on your new space heater and getting comfortable, be sure to read the owner’s manual. Most companies provide specific instructions, including guidance for temperature settings and usage duration. Reading the user manual may not seem necessary, but it can prevent disaster.
Never purchase a space heater that is not tested and UL approved.
Never Leave a Space Heater Unattended
Space heaters may seem like a convenient way to keep a room warm, but the risk of fire can be far greater than you may realize. As such, it's important to never, ever leave a space heater unattended.
Space heaters rely on high-powered heating elements to keep warm air flowing. While effective at heating the air, they are also effective at heating other items nearby them in your home. A few minutes away in another room at the wrong time can be all it takes to see your living room go up in flames. So always be sure your space heater is used under strict supervision. Before leaving a room, turn off and unplug your space heater.
Monitor Children Near Heaters
Space heaters, when used properly, can be safe for use in your home. Ensuring children are aware of the dangers is important, though. Space heaters are not toys and must be used responsibly.
It is unwise to allow children to spend unsupervised time in rooms with space heaters, as it's far too easy for toddlers and school-aged children to touch or play with space heaters, which can lead to burns and injuries. Instead, use heaters in spaces where you can keep watch.
Ensure Proper Placement
Space heaters are generally very hot to the touch while in use. While a good thing for heating a room, this is often a bad thing when the heater is placed improperly. For proper use, space heaters should have access to air on all sides and should never be placed against a wall, furniture, or soft items such as curtains or pillows. In general, space heaters should be at least three feet away from anything flammable.
Just a few moments of contact with an item that could burn is all it takes to start a fire. So place a space heater with care. Space heater fires can begin in a matter of seconds, so any amount of time in the wrong place can cause tragic consequences.
Space heaters provide a cost-efficient way to keep you and your family warm, but improper use can prove to be hazardous or even deadly. Before using a space heater to raise the temperature in your home, be sure to employ best practices to minimize the chances of burns and fires.