As the temperature outside gets colder, so does your home. Space heaters are a great way to keep that pesky cold room warm. However, more than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. According to the NFPA, nearly half (46%) of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February. So, before you plug in for the winter, review these handy safety tips.
Space Heater Safety Tips:
- Ensure your space heater has a label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Before using any space heater, carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels.
- Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn, or damaged, do not use the heater.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you leave the room or go to sleep, and do not let pets or children play close to a space heater.
- Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing, or thaw pipes.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas, and test them once a month.
- Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing, and rugs.
- Keep the heater away from water or wet areas.
- Locate space heaters out of high-traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
- Always unplug and safely store the heater when not in use.