Many Florida residents are turning up the heat as the nights get cooler and the days get shorter. While some people use a furnace to heat the entire house, some people turn to space heaters to warm up just one room.
Space heaters are small electrical devices that produce heat. There are many different models and brands out there. They may be filled with oil or may use a quartz or metal heating coil to produce heat. Because of the higher risk of fires, many models have safety features such as an automatic shut off switch if it gets tipped over.
While space heaters are safe to use in most situations, they can be dangerous. More home fires are reported in the winter than any other time of the year; many of these are attributed to improper use of space heaters.
Snyder Heating and Air Conditioning would like for everyone to be safe this winter. Here are some simple do’s and don’ts for space heater safety.
Space Heater Do’s
- Before buying a space heater, check to see if it has a UL sticker on it. This means that this model has been tested for safety by a nationally recognized testing agency.
- Check the wires and plug. Over time, electrical cords can deteriorate. Cracks or visible wires indicate that the heater is no longer safe. If the plug is discolored or shows sign of wear, replace the heater.
- Place heaters on a flat, fireproof surface. While many heaters have an automatic shut off, do not rely on this function. Placing heaters on furniture or unstable surfaces can cause them to fall and break. Setting a heater on a fireproof surface reduces the risk of fire.
- When selecting a space heater, choose one with a guard to protect your family and pets from accidental burns.
- Read the owner’s manual. Many allow you to set the heater at a certain comfort level or use a timer.
- Everyone in the household should know how to use the heater. Explain how to turn the heater on and off and its proper use.
- Periodically check the plug in. A loose or hot plug may indicate an issue with the electrical outlet.
Space Heater Don’ts
- Never use a space heater for a primary heat source. Space heaters are not designed to heat an entire home. They are for supplementary use only.
- Do not use a heater with a frayed or damage cord or plug. A damaged cord or plug poses a much higher fire risk than an undamaged one.
- Do not use extension cords. Most extension cords are not capable of carrying enough electricity without overheating.
- Remove all flammable materials from around the heater. Clear a 3 foot area around the heater. Flammable materials include: papers, curtains, and clothing.
- Do not use space heaters in the bathroom or outdoors unless they are specially designed for that use. The moisture can cause the heater to short out and cause a fire.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Fires can start unexpectedly especially with hot electrical devices.