Space heaters can be very convenient and more cost-effective when heating small areas in your home. But are they safe? The National Fire Protection Association completed a 5-year study and found that 33% of all home heating fires were caused by space heaters. However, most of these fires could have been avoided if the correct safety measures had been followed.
It’s important to look for a space heater that has up-to-date safety features. For this reason, don’t buy a used space heater because it may not meet the current safety standards. Make sure to buy one that has the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) certification or another trusted testing lab certification. Some other features to look for include:
- A sensor that turns the heater off if it falls or is knocked over.
- Small grates to keep children’s fingers from reaching the heating element.
- A thermostatically controlled heater that turns off when it reaches a certain temperature.
While purchasing a space heater with these safety features is important, it’s only half of the equation. The other half is using it with precaution. Here are some good guidelines to follow as recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Put the space heater on a hard, level surface.
- Keep the space heater at least three feet away from any furniture, curtains, or bedding.
- Turn the space heater off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Keep kids and pets away from the space heater.
- Avoid using an extension cord—plug the space heater directly into the wall outlet.
Looking for updated safety features and following the above safety guidelines will significantly reduce the chances of a fire or accident, making a space heater a pretty safe heating option.
If you’d like to learn more about heating your home efficiently, check out our knowledge center for informative articles like 5 Furnace Maintenance Myths. As always, feel free to contact one of our certified HVAC technicians for additional heating and cooling tips, as well as learn more about our services.