Space heaters are great for keeping your home and office warm when it’s chilly out. If used correctly, they can work well to heat a small area. However, these small appliances are not without risk. Follow these easy tips to use a space heater safely.
Keep the Space Heater on the Floor
When using a portable space heater, it’s essential to keep it on the floor. Never put it on a table or countertop — that’s how fires start. Also, be conscious of what material your space heater is on. Carpets, rugs, and other flammable materials should be avoided. The best place to put your space heater is on a smooth tiled floor or a heatproof mat.
To use a space heater safely, never put it on top of furniture or appliances because it could fall and cause a serious injury or fire. When you place a space heater on top of tables or dressers, you risk burning yourself or damaging your belongings.
Move Flammable Objects Away from the Space Heater
Space heaters are generally not intended as the primary heating source in any room or area of a home or building. Instead, they’re designed to supplement central heating systems in small rooms or spaces where additional heat is desired.
Never place anything on top of your heater — even if it’s turned off — because it could overheat and start a fire if accidentally turned back on while items are on top of it.
And keep all flammable objects away from your space heater, including curtains and drapes. Ideally, anything should be at least 3 feet away from your space heater. Even if the space heater is turned off, make sure nothing is around it until it’s completely cooled.
Never Leave the Space Heater Unattended
Leaving a space heater unattended is one of the most common mistakes people make with these appliances. An unattended space heater could quickly lead to fire, injury, or property damage.
Because space heaters are so easy to use and provide such quick results, many people leave them on after they’ve left the room, even for a bathroom break. However, leaving your space heater unattended can be dangerous.
Always unplug your space heater before leaving the room or going to bed at night. The fact is that a space heater should never be left unsupervised.
Don’t Use Power strips or Extension Cords
Extension cords and power strips are quick and convenient, but they can also be dangerous. The problem is that an extension cord or power strip can’t handle the extra electrical load from a space heater.
Extension cords and power strips aren’t designed for use with high-wattage appliances like space heaters. This means that when you plug your space heater into an extension cord or power strip, it can overheat, causing a fire or even melting the insulation on the wire. In addition, this could potentially cause an electrical shock when touched by someone nearby.
Keep Kids and Pets Away
Curious children and hot space heaters are a bad combination. Children can burn themselves from touching the hot surfaces or knock over the space heater by getting tangled in the cord.
If you must use a space heater in an area where there are young children, install safety guards around the front of the unit. Ensure that no part of the guard is missing or damaged so fingers cannot get caught inside. The same goes for curious pets. They could get burned by touching the heated surface or accidentally knock it over.
Never Put it Near Liquids
Never put your space heater near water. If water gets into any part of the heater or if there is a leak in the electrical system, it can cause an electric shock or start a fire.
This is because water conducts electricity, when it comes into contact with an electrical source, it can cause sparks or fire.
If you notice that your space heater is getting wet, immediately turn off the power and remove the plug from the wall. Also, never use your space heater in the bathroom or near sinks.
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