5 Ways To Stay Safe When Using A Space Heater
Thanks to the El Niño phenomenon, meteorologists are predicting normal to below-normal winter weather temperatures in Vermont, New Hampshire, and the entire North East this season, with warmer temperatures existing in January and colder periods occurring throughout February and March.
In order to prevent racking up your heating bill or piling on layers of clothes, many homeowners invest in a space heater to provide direct heat to rooms they use the most. While convenient and effective, space heaters are also responsible for nearly 33% of home heating fires and approximately 81% of these home heating fires involved deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
By following these tips, you can use your space heaters in a safe and responsible manner while still staying warm this winter.
1. Be Particular When Buying Your Heater
Many of today’s space heaters have fireproof features such as tip-over and overheat protection. When purchasing your space heater, make sure it’s equipped with these safety functions. Heaters with tip- or tilt-over switches will automatically shut off if bumped over. This is crucial for households with children or pets.
Similarly, heaters with overheat protection use temperature sensors to detect if the system is becoming too hot. If the temperature is deemed too unsafe by the sensors, it will automatically shut off to prevent over-heating.
2. Be Specific When Choosing A Spot
When choosing the perfect place for your space heater, be sure to place it at least three feet away from all furniture, window treatments, bedding, clothing, rugs, and other combustible items. Also, never drape or sit on these portable heaters, and always place them on a hard, level surface.
3. Keep Them Away From Water
Do not keep your heater in a damp space, bathroom, or humid basement. Furthermore, don’t touch or operate the heater if you’re wet or have wet hands, as this will increase the risk of electrical shock. Even if your unit has GFCI plugs that make them safe for bathroom use, be sure to use extra caution before placing it in a damp location.
4. No Oil or Gas Heaters for Indoor Use
Don’t use oil or gas burning space heaters indoors. These are strictly for outdoor use only and, similar to indoor heaters, you should heed all safety and operational instructions prior to using your outdoor heater.
5. Avoid Using Space Heaters With Extension Cords
As your instructional packet likely recommends, be sure to plug your space heater’s electric cord directly into an outlet that’s equipped to handle sufficient power demands. Extension cords or other power adapters typically increase the chances of overheating, which often results in both fires and electrical shock injuries.
At Taylor-Moore Agency, we understand that accidents happen – especially in the winter weather. Along with the dangers of snow and ice, fires, heaters and stoves can also be a considerable threat during cold North East winters. To be properly prepared this winter season, make sure your home is adequately covered with reliable homeowners insurance.