You may have already detected a chill in the air. For some parts of the country, wintry weather will be here soon. For others, a milder but still chilly season is coming.
To help stay warm, some supplement their main home heating system with an electric space heater. While considered safer than fuel oil space heaters, they still require special care and consideration so you can stay warm and safe during colder weather.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (EFSI) organization, safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. While being warm may be at the top of your list of creature comforts, a fire, electric shock, or personal injury must be avoided.
Here is what the EFSI suggests that everyone consider when using space heaters.
- Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
- 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're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too 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.
- 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 any 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 it is not in use.