Even in warmer seasons, there are still times when a cozy space heater sounds like just the right solution, especially if you’re working from home or trying to warm up after a long day. But space heaters can also present unique fire and electrical hazards in a house or office. Here’s what everyone should know when they start using one.
Check Labels and Certification
Your space heater should have clear labels that show it has been certified by a recognized testing laboratory that has made sure the product design is safe for use. Never use a space heater if you do not see any official certification, and never by a knockoff version of a space heater. These heaters use very hot electric heating elements, similar to an electric stovetop: They can easily cause fires and scorching if they are not properly certified.
While looking at labels, take this opportunity to read the owners manual about proper use, which will contain important tips about how to use the heater safely. Note that the best space heaters have tip-over protection and overheat protection, built-in safeguards that make them significantly safer to use.
Inspect the Heater for Physical Damage
It’s common for space heaters to be put into storage in the warmer months and taken out again during winter. That creates the possibility for physical damage, so it’s important to inspect the heater for any obvious signs of damage. Cracks, broken plugs, and similar issues mean the heater should not be used.
Only Use Space Heaters for Supplemental Heat
Space heaters are designed for one-room supplemental heating, while larger heating systems handle primary heating. First, they are incredibly expensive to run as a primary source of heat and will quickly shoot your energy bills up. Second, using them for long periods of time increases the likelihood of heat damage and fire hazards. Third, space heaters are designed to be used for limited periods of time, and if they are used too much or too long, they will quickly wear out. Don’t use them for things like thawing out frozen components or drying clothing.
Position Your Space Heater Carefully
Keep the space heater at least three feet away from anything that can burn. That includes furniture, drapes, carpet, pet beds, books, clothes, and anything else. Don’t put space heaters in hallways or entrances where people can trip over them. Always position the heater on a flat surface. Never turn a space heater on and then leave it unattended – always turn it off when you are finished in the room.
Unplug and Store When Not in Use
Plug space heaters into wall outlets, and don’t use extension cords. When finished, unplug the heater fully and store it safely away again. If you are getting a space heater out after some time without use, clean it and check for dust first. You can vacuum a turned-off space heater to remove dust and allergens.
Interested in learning more about the best heating options for your home? Space heaters can be very inefficient when used incorrectly. Contact Guaranteed Heating & Cooling to learn more information and to find out what maintenance or installations can make a difference in your building.