Space heaters are the leading cause of house-fire accidents in the United States, and that is a cause for worry. However, you have to stay warm, and there are ways to do that without having to use warm bedding or snuggle up on the couch, hoping to catch some warmth. A space heater can still be safe for your house as long as you know how to use the space heater safely. Space heaters provide a supplemental heat source to the central heating system, which may not be able to heat up all the corners of the house evenly.
Modern space heaters are safe to use because of the enhanced safety features, but you have to take extra precautions to avoid accidents. We will share safety tips to follow when using home space heaters.
1) Supervise the Space Heater
Never leave the space heater unattended at any time. The national fire protection association insists that you use space heaters only when in the room and not anywhere else. If you are using portable electric space heaters, you can bring them to every room you are in without a hassle. Most space heaters are portable and make space heaters safety easy to go around.
Supervising the space heaters means that you will not allow any pets and kids near the space heaters. Staying in the same room as the space heater is not equivalent to attending to it. You should not be asleep while the space heater is on. This is one of the most important space heater safety tips. Always ensure the space heater is within sight. Regardless of the type of heater you are using, seeing it at all times is key to any heater.
Talking about types, do you know yours?
2) Know Your Space Heater Type
Once you know the type of space heater you have, you will know how to keep it safe. Fire hazard varies from one space heater to another, depending on how the heater gives off heat. All space heaters have the possibility of starting home fires, and the different types do not suggest that the care should vary with the types. However, all heating equipment should be handled with extra caution.
Here are some types of space heaters you might be using;
Mica Space Heater-These heaters function as part convection and part radiant heater. You can mound it on the wall
Infra-red space heaters- These heaters direct heat using a beam to specific spaces instead of the entire room.
Ceramic fan-forced heaters-These heaters push warm air over ceramic plates to heat the room.
Oil-filled convection heaters-These heaters heat the whole room and are not space heaters. They are super hot to the touch and not the safest options. Hot air is pushed into the room after being heated up.
3) Set-Up Position
You want to place space heaters in positions where no one will accidentally trip over the heater. No extension cords should be crossing path-ways to avoid a tripping hazard. You can place electric heaters close to the wall outlet to keep the extension cord away from doorways. Avoid using a power strip or the extension cord as the power source because these tend to overheat, causing a fire hazard. In addition, power strips and extension cords tend to have loose connections at times, adding to the hazard.
Ensure the space heater is stable by setting it up only on flat surfaces to avoid tipping over. The space heater should further have a tip-over switch if you leave the space heater unattended and it tips over. Tip-over switches are life-savers.
Avoid setting up in high-traffic areas as this can be extremely dangerous.
4) Automatic Shut Off
Sometimes, we all dose off and forget food in the oven or forget to turn down the fire cooking the food. For such situations, get a space heater that automatically shuts when time is up. Using a space heater should not be a stressful process, and this feature takes away a lot of the stress.
A surge protector can work well to disconnect the heater when there is a power surge automatically.
5) Clear Any Flammable Objects
Curtains, dry clothing, papers and other flammable items should be nowhere near the heater. Plug the heater away from the curtains or any hanging items that can burn easily. You might be tempted to sit closer to the heater. This is a bad idea, and you should avoid that at all costs.
6) Use Appropriately
Do not use the heater to cook food, thaw pipes or dry your socks. Do not get any ideas either. Safety is the first thing you have to consider. Winter can bring a lot of challenges, and it might be tempting to try out different things with the space heater. Just keep the use appropriate regardless of the temptations you might get.
Space heaters are not inherently dangerous if you follow the manufacturer's instructions. You do not want to be a negative statistic in the consumer product safety commission books. Do not let pets and children play near the heaters. Install smoke detectors and read the warning labels to know the ins and outs of the convenient source of heat that you just bought. Take care of the heater so that you do not have a malfunctioning space heater that can barely produce hot air when winter comes.