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Portable Space Heater Safety Tips

December 16, 2016

Portable Space Heater Safety Tips

It’s cold outside and folks are turning up the heat by using portable space heaters. The U.S. Product Safety Commission estimates that each year, over 25,000 home fires and 300 deaths are linked to the use of space heaters. Additionally, an estimated 6,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year for contact burns from portable space heaters.

Portable space heaters are typically used for one of these reasons:

  • To heat frequently used rooms instead of using the more costly heat source. (Over 60% of homeowners believe that using a space heater will lower their energy bill. This is only true if you reduce heat in other rooms.)
  • To heat rooms not effectively warmed by the existing heat source. (If your malfunctioning, undersized, or poorly maintained furnace does not heat your home adequately, contact us at 972-254-6283.)

Choose the Right Space Heater

Look for these safety features to be sure you get a safe space heater:

Certified by Independent Laboratory Testing—Look for UL (Underwriters Laboratory) ETL (Intertek) or CSA International certification.

Auto Shut-Off—A space heater should turn off in the event it overheats or tips over.

GFCI Plug—This is the type of plug that is commonly used on electric hair dryers to cut power to the appliance and prevent electric shock in case of contact with water. This is not a common feature on space heaters, but is good to have if you can find it.

Operate Your Space Heater Safely

  • Place the heater on a hard, level floor.
  • Do not place anything combustible within 3’ of the space heater.
  • Don’t allow children or pets within 3’ of the heater and don’t use a space heater in a child’s room.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off at bedtime.
  • Don’t use a space heater near matches, paint, or other flammables.
  • Unplug the heater when not in use. Check the cord periodically and do not use if damaged.
  • Use smoke alarms and test regularly.

Space heaters are fine for occasional use, but if your furnace does not warm your house adequately, space heaters are not a permanent solution. Contact Climate Tech, the heating repair experts at 972-254-6283 for information on furnace repair and replacement.

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