When winter’s chill takes hold, many homeowners turn to their space heaters to quickly add heat to a room or area of their home. But if a portable heater is used the wrong way, those cozy perks can be quickly replaced with risky scenarios. Operating near flammable materials, overloading an electrical circuit, or leaving the heater unattended are all fire risks. This winter, stay safe and warm by following these seven safety measures.
1. Verify safety certifications. Confirm that your heater has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, like Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Not only do they meet safety standards, but manufacturers have to provide use and care information to consumers.
2. Follow manufacturer labels. Read operation and safety instructions for your unit and adhere to any warnings listed.
3. Inspect your heater. Check for cracked or broken plugs and any loose connections. If you notice signs of damage, DO NOT USE. Frayed wires and dusty grates, grills, and coils are fire hazards.
4. Don’t set it and forget it. Always turn off your space heater when you leave the room or go to sleep. Never leave pets and young children unattended in a room with a space heater.
Pro Tip: Buy a space heater that has a guard around the heating element. This will help keep kids and pets safe from burns.
5. Place your heater on a flat, hard floor. Position it at least three feet away from anything flammable, including decorations, furniture, blankets, and bedding. Place your heater away from high traffic areas and doorways to prevent tripping hazards.
6. Plug your space heater directly into the wall. Never use an extension cord or power strip as a power source, as you could overload circuits. Additionally, avoid plugging other electrical devices into the same outlet as your heater. Unplug and safely store your heater when it’s not in use.
7. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can form if you’re using a fuel-fired heater, and electrical models can cause a fire if not used correctly.
Is your space heater a short-term fix for a bigger heating problem?
If you’re consistently using a portable heater to warm a cold area of your home, there’s a good chance that your heating system has a problem. For a more permanent heating solution, call a home comfort specialist who can inspect and diagnose any issues and help regulate your home’s temperature.
Heating System Installation, Maintenance, and Repair in NH and MA
If you have questions about the efficiency of your heating system, or are in need of a maintenance check, contact us for an appointment. Main Stream Mechanical’s skilled technicians have industry-leading experience and know-how to get your heating system ready for the long winter season.