Space heaters can work wonders on the coldest winter days to warm rooms your central heating system can’t quite reach. But while manufacturers have worked to build more safety features into this alternative heating source, users still should take precautions to ensure these cozy heaters don’t become fire hazards.
Space heaters are designed as a supplemental source of heat, not as the main source. So you shouldn’t use them constantly, especially in rooms that you don’t use much. Check your space heaters for an Underwriters Laboratories seal, and follow these guidelines for safely using it:
- Keep space heaters at least three feet away from drapes and furniture that could catch fire.
- Don’t use extension cords with space heaters unless absolutely necessary.
- Inspect the heater’s cord periodically for frayed wire or damaged insulation. Don’t use a space heater with a damaged cord.
- Check periodically for a secure plug/outlet fit. If the plug gets hot, the outlet may need to be replaced by a qualified electrician. This could be the sign of a home wiring issue.
- Place your heater on a flat, level surface. Don’t place heaters on furniture, as they may fall and break or even start a fire.
- Unless the heater is designed for use outdoors or in bathrooms, don’t use it in wet areas.