Over the cold winter months, a small space heater can add additional warmth to your rooms. And although you might want to flip it on anytime and in any space you feel you need it, there can be safety risks. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that space heaters are the cause of 25,000 residential fires every year. Knowing the risk and following sensible safety guidelines when using space heaters can help you stay safe – and warm – in your home.
Follow these space heater safety tips:
- Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable items and objects, such as papers or curtains.
- Avoid leaving a space heater unattended for long periods of time, especially around children and pets.
- Place space heaters on low, flat surfaces – preferably on the floor.
- Avoid plugging a space heater into an extension cord or power strip – instead, plug it directly into the wall. It is also recommended that you keep the space heater away from the wall to avoid overheating.
- Do not place space heaters in potentially wet locations, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- If you’re using a propane or gas-fired space heater, don’t operate it in an unventilated area. These should only be used in places like a garage or outdoor shop.
Energy efficiency tip: Remember, space heaters ONLY cut down on energy bills if you turn down the thermostat for the whole house. They’re best used when you’re spending time in one room of your home for a short period of time.