While space heaters use a considerable amount of energy, they can be a convenient source of targeted heat for your home in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly. Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for safe use:
- Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory. Before using, 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 near 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.
- 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.
- 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.