Space heaters add comfort to drafty and hard-to-heat areas and can actually save money when used to heat individual rooms while keeping the central thermostat lower. But used carelessly they can be hazards to your property and your safety.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that around 25,000 house fires and 300 deaths are caused by space heaters each year. Another 6,000 people go to emergency rooms with burns from touching a heater’s hot surface.
Space Heater Basics
A space heater can quickly warm a small space such as a home office or workroom. A small heater with a fan will usually work fine for rooms of 100 sq. ft. or so. They can have metal coils or ceramic-encased wires, and both types generally have two heat settings. On low, they use around 1,000 watts of power and on high, it’s about 1,500 watts. Some have two fan speeds and may also oscillate to spread the heat over a larger area.
Portable radiators can be upright designs that look like traditional steam or hot water styles or horizontal ones that function like baseboard heaters. Convection heaters can be free-standing or wall-mounted, and some are available as flat panels that can be painted to match the room.
How to Use a Space Heater Safely
- Place the heater on a hard, level, and nonflammable surface. Don’t put heaters on tables, desks, or shelves where they can be easily tipped over.
- Keep children, pets, fabrics, and combustible materials away from heaters, and never leave the heater unattended. Think of it the same as you would a stovetop burner or candle and use similar precautions.
- Don’t leave a space heater in a child’s room. Besides the risk of burns from contact in the dark, a child will not react to smoke or bad smells as quickly as an adult.
- Don’t use a heater in a workshop or garage near paint, gas cans, or matches.
- Turn heaters off when leaving a room and unplug them when not in use.
- Don’t run the power cord where it can be a tripping or tipping hazard.
- Avoid using extension cords, which can overheat from a heater’s heavy load. If you must, use a heavy-duty cord and never run any heater cords under rugs or carpet.
- Check any cords for wear, damage or being hot to the touch. Discontinue use if any of these warning signs are present.
- Put smoke alarms on every level of your home, including basements, and in each bedroom and they should be tested monthly.
If you think your home may have service or safety issues, don’t hesitate to call Allstar Electrical Services. We’ve served the Colorado Front Range for over 15 years and are top-rated by the Better Business Bureau.
Don’t put up with annoying problems or risk costly emergencies. Visit our website for complete details about our services as well as timely articles about the latest developments in the ever-changing world of electronics. Then give us a call at 303.399.7420 or use our handy on-line forms to request an estimate or set up an appointment.