Heaters can make excellent sources for single room warmth during the winter — but it's very important to use your heater safely! You don't want to risk fires or health hazards every time you turn your space heater on. With that in mind, here are the rules to follow.
Check Heater Certifications
Look for certification labels on your heater. Properly qualified heaters should have labels that show they have been tested by an accredited organization and are safe for home use. If you can't find any labels, look your heater model up to make sure it isn't a knockoff that doesn't have the proper safety qualifications. You don't want to use heaters like those!
Maintain Your Heater Properly
Clean your heater when you bring it out, and make sure no dust or dirt is on the heater before you start it. Look for signs of damage like frayed cords, cracked elements, burnt spots, and other problems that indicate the heater will be a fire hazard if you try to use it. Ask a professional if you have maintenance questions.
Keep the Heater Three Feet Away From Anything That Can Burn
We mean anything! That includes carpet, bookcases, drywall, furniture, pet beds, and anything else that has the potential to burn. The best place for a space heater is on tile, concrete or stone. Never use it directly on carpet or any other flammable material.
Put the Heater on a Flat Floor
Heaters can become dangerous fire hazards if they're uneven or crooked in any way (especially fuel-based heaters that need to keep their fuel canisters level). Never try to set the heater at an angle or perch it above the floor — it won't make much difference for heating the room, and it could burn nearby materials or start a fire. Put the heater on a level floor instead.
When you Leave the Heater Alone, Turn it Off and Unplug It
Don't leave the room with the heater on! Someone should always be present for safety purposes. If you are leaving an empty room, take a second to shut down the heater so that it won't cause any problems while you're away.
Don't Try to Warm Anything But the Room
In other words, use space heaters for heating a single space. Don't use them for defrosting frozen pipes, keeping pets warm, or any other alternative task. That just increases the chance of fire damage.
Don't Combine Heaters and Moisture in Any Way
Moisture can short out heaters, cause additional fire hazards, and generally make a mess. Never use a heater near moisture or in an area that sees a lot of moisture (by the sink, in the bathroom, by an open window, etc.).
Remember Any Ventilation Requirements
Fuel-based heaters typically have strict ventilation requirements, and may not be able to heat enclosed spaces. Follow these requirements carefully to avoid poisoning the air!
For more on how to stay warm and comfortable at home, contact us with your questions!