Space Heaters Safety Precautions – Keeping Your House & Office Safe In Winter
When cold winter temperatures start to set in, there’s nothing better than a space heater to keep you warm at home or work. Not only are space heaters convenient and affordable, but they also ensure localized warmth. However, as despite being good sources of heat, they can be extremely dangerous.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating is the second most common cause of home fires and the leading cause of home fire deaths. Space heaters are responsible for four out of every five heating fire deaths. To avoid damage to your home, office, yourself, and those around you, it’s vital that you follow instructions and use the proper safety precautions when using space heaters. The following are some of the essentials to keep in mind when using these devices.
Ensure Safety Approval During Purchase
One of the best safety precautions you can take is buying a heater with safety approval from a nationally recognized testing laboratory like Underwriters Laboratory (UL). This means that the product has been thoroughly tested and meets required safety standards. If you ensure this, you’re set up for success before you even use the space heater.
Never Leave It Unattended
Fires usually occur when devices like space heaters are left unattended. Just like you don’t leave the gas on in the kitchen or leave a candle unattended, the same applies to heating devices. This also includes turning the heater off before going to sleep or putting on an automatic timer so that the space heater isn’t left unmonitored. It’s also important to keep an eye on the space heater to ensure that young children and pets don’t go too close to it.
Ensure Distance From Flammable Objects and Liquids
This may seem like an obvious safety precaution, but it is essential to keep the space heater away from flammable objects. According to both the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), space heaters should be placed a minimum of 3 ft away from flammable items to prevent them from heating up and catching on fire. These include curtains, paper, furniture, bedding, and more.
You should also make sure that space heaters are kept far away from liquids or sources of water like bathtubs or sinks. If they do come into contact with liquids, you could be at risk of electric shock. To prevent this, ensure that all mugs and cups are at a safe distance from the heating device and that you never operate the heater with wet hands.
Don’t Use Power Strips
Always opt for wall outlets over power strips when it comes to plugging in your space heater. Power strips cannot handle the energy required to run the space heater and can overheat, causing a fire. Wall outlets are designed to handle high voltage and can run space heaters without any difficulty.
It’s also important to make sure that you don’t use the same outlet for multiple connections since this, too, can cause overheating and result in a fire.
Buy Heaters With Automatic Shut Off
When buying a space heater, double-check to make sure it has an automatic shut-off function. Most people love this feature for its convenience, but this is also one of the best ways to prevent electrical fires and fire damage. Automatic shut-off ensures that the device turns off if the space heater overheats or is turned over. This not only protects against negligence but also from accidents that result in overturning the devices.
Don’t Block the Exits
Safety precautions don’t stop at simply operating the space heater correctly. They extend to your surroundings as well. One of the most important precautions to take is to ensure that all exits and doors are left clear so that there’s a way to escape in case of a fire. Many individuals make the mistake of placing space heaters near the doors and exits. Instead of doing this, utilize wall outlets and keep the doorways clear.
Additionally, areas like doorways have a lot of foot traffic. This makes space heaters a tripping hazard, which can then result in a fire outbreak.
Have Working Smoke Detectors
While you can take every possible precaution, accidents can still happen. This is why you must have working smoke detectors in case of emergencies. This, in combination with a comprehensive escape plan, can ensure that you are prepared in case the worst happens.
Place It on a Level Surface
Instead of placing your space heater on blankets or a rug, place it on a level surface. The floor is the most common location for space heaters since it’s level and reduces the likelihood of the device being knocked over and igniting something flammable.
Prevent Fire Damage With 911 Restoration
While space heaters aren’t inherently dangerous, they can result in devastating consequences if used improperly. That being said, accidents happen, and sometimes, even small incidents get out of control. If your home or business has faced fire damage, it’s important to call in professionals for fire damage restoration services.
If you’re in Charlotte, Concord, or surrounding areas, 911 Restoration can help. Fires can break out suddenly and grow without warning. They leave behind injuries, property damage, soot, odors, smoke damage, and water damage. Our IICRC technicians can help with fire damage restoration as well as other home restoration services. We’re available 24/7 and can be contacted here for more information or to schedule a meeting.