With these cold temperatures, many people are using space heaters to keep warm. While they’re a great source of supplemental heat, they can represent a fire hazard if used improperly. In fact, according to The Consumer Product Safety Commission, 25,000 fires are caused every year by space heaters.
Ensure that you’re warm and safe with these Space Heater Safety Tips!
Selecting a Space Heater
Space heaters are available in both electric and fuel-burning models (natural gas, propane, kerosene, etc.). While electric heaters are generally considered safer than fuel-burning models, all space heaters can cause Fires if used improperly. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your space heater:
Where will you be using it? Are you going to be using your space heater in a small / closed area like a bedroom, or a large / open area like a garage? Due to concerns of carbon monoxide poisoning, it is recommended to use electric space heaters in small rooms. Fuel-burning models on the other hand are much better at heating large, well ventilated areas like garages and outdoor spaces.
Has it been certified as meeting safety standards? When selecting a space heater, look for models that carry a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). These voluntary organizations check units to ensure that they meet construction and performance standards.
What safety features does it have? While space heater fires are still possible, a number of safety features have been developed to prevent space heaters from causing fires. A few features you can look for are:
• Overheating sensor (will shut off the unit if it begins to overheat)
• Tip over sensor (will shut off the unit should it tip over or fall on its side)
• Touch sensor (intended to prevent burns if the grill is touched)
• Low oxygen levels sensor (intended to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, etc.)
Using your Space Heater
When choosing the perfect place for your space heater, try to select an area where it can evenly distribute heat throughout the space. Here are a few additional things to keep in mind when setting up your space heater:
• Space heaters should be placed on the floor
• Your space heater should be at least 3 feet away from flammable objects such as bedding, curtains, etc.
• Never operate your space heater under a blanket or comforter.
• Set up a 3 foot “kid free zone” around your space heater to avoid potential burns.
• Space heaters should never be used in damp or wet areas (or areas that could become damp like Bathrooms) unless they were designed for that purpose.
• Place your space heater on a level surface to avoid the possibility of the unit tipping over.
• Never use fuel-burning space heaters indoors or in poorly ventilated areas.
• Turn off space heaters whenever leaving a room or going to bed.
• Clean your space heater regularly, as accumulated dust and dirt could represent a fire hazard.
• Read and follow all manufacturer’s directions.
We hope these tips help you keep warm (and safe) this winter! As always, if there is anything that we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact your local Disaster Blaster offices!
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