Space Heater Safety

As the temperatures dip this winter many of us rely on space heaters to supplement heat in our homes or places of work. However, space heaters can be a real safety hazard if you don’t take the proper precautions when using them. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters, causing more than 300 deaths.

If you use a space heater, please take a minute to brush up on these safety tips from UL:

  • Keep all space heaters at least 3 feet away from household combustibles.
  • Use space heaters only as a supplementary source of heat. These devices are not intended to replace the home’s heating system.
  • Do not use extension cords with space heaters unless absolutely necessary.
  • Inspect the heater’s cord periodically to look for frayed wire or damaged insulation. Do not use a space heater with a damaged cord.
  • Check periodically for a secure plug/outlet fit. If the plug becomes very hot, the outlet may need to be replaced by a qualified technician. This could be the sign of a potential home wiring issue.
  • Heaters should be placed on a flat, level surface. Do not place heaters on furniture since they may fall and become damaged or break parts in the heater.
  • Unless the heater is designed for use outdoors or in bathrooms, do not use in damp, wet areas.
  • Look for the UL Mark on your electric heater. This means representative samples of the appliance have met UL’s stringent safety standards.
  • If you have a liquid-fueled space heater, use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. The wrong fuel could burn hotter than the equipment was designed for and cause a serious fire.
  • When refueling, turn off the heater and let it cool down completely before adding fuel. Wipe away any spills promptly.
  • Before you buy a kerosene heater, check with your local fire department to ensure that it is legal.

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