At this time of year, space heaters are a great way to keep warm. Some homes don’t have enough heating power to keep the house warm by themselves, so that’s where space heaters come in. They’re useful, easy to use, and can be put away when they’re no longer needed.
However, if not used properly, they can actually pose a serious fire hazard. You don’t have to get rid of your space heaters, but you do need to use them carefully. Use this guide to help you use them carefully every time you need to heat up your home.
Check the Labels
Every good space heater will have been tested before it’s put on the market. This testing ensures that the heater is in good condition, and will heat up a room safely. When you buy a space heater, make sure you look for a safety tag. This will tell you that the heater has been tested before it came to you. If it has one, you can use it with confidence. If it doesn’t, you’re better off using something else.
Read the Instructions
Every space heater will come with instructions on how to use it. Most will cover the same ground as this guide, but you should read it carefully before you use it all the same. There may be important safety information in there that you’ll need to know. If you don’t follow the instructions properly, you could invalidate the warranty and put yourself at risk.
Inspect Your Heater
Like all electronics, you’ll need to inspect your space heater regularly. Every time you go to use it, take a good look at it. Are there any frayed or exposed wires? Are there broken plugs or loose connections? If so, you shouldn’t use the heater as it poses a fire risk. Instead, look into replacing the unit to ensure you’ll stay safe as well as warm.
Never Leave a Heater Unattended
If you’re using a space heater, you need to pay close attention to it. Much like candles, you should never leave it unattended. You don’t want to be in the other room if something does go wrong, as you won’t be able to react as quickly.
If you’re going to another room or leaving the house, turn the space heater off. It’s also not a good idea to leave the heater on if you’re going out to heat the house up.
When you go to bed, ensure you turn off and unplug the space heater. It’s dangerous to leave it running when you’re asleep. If you still need to warm up at night, consider using hot water bottles, or use a heated blanket specially designed for the purpose.
Be Careful With Children and Pets
If you have children or pets, be especially careful with your space heater. It’s easy for them to get knocked over if they play too close to them, and they become a fire hazard. Also, there’s the risk of burns if they come too close. It’s best not to use space heaters in rooms your children or pets will use.
Don’t Use Space Heaters for Unintended Purposes
What does this mean? The point of a space heater is to provide supplemental heat to a home, and that’s it. They can’t be used as a full heating system, as this puts too much strain on them. You’ll also find that they can’t be used for drying clothes, thawing pipes, warming bedding, or cooking food. Keep them free and clear, and only use them for their intended purpose.
Install Smoke Alarms
Even if you’re very careful with your space heaters, you may find that they become damaged and start a fire. If this happens, you want to be prepared. Buy smoke alarms if you don’t already have some, and install them on every floor of your home. Also, put one in every sleeping area to wake you up if a fire breaks out at night. Once you have them in place, ensure you test them every month, and change the batteries out twice a year.
Place Your Space Heater Carefully
Where you place your space heater is critical. If it’s in the wrong place, it makes a fire much ore likely to break out. You’ll need to ensure your space heater is placed at least three feet away from anything that can burn. That includes rugs, clothing, drapes, and other combustibles.
They should also be kept out of high traffic areas, such as hallways. In these areas they are a tripping hazard, and so are dangerous to those in the home. Ensure that you place the space heater on a flat, even surface. This reduces the risk of it tipping over. They should never be placed on cabinets, tables, or carpet, as this can overheat and start a fire.
Consider Where You Plug Your Heater In
The way you plug your space heater in has a big effect on its fire safety. The best thing to do is to plug it directly into a wall socket. If you plug it into a extension lead, you may find that it overheats and starts a fire. When you do plug the heater into a wall socket, ensure that you don’t plug anything else into it, to avoid overloading it.
Unplug When Not In Use
Finally, if you’re done using the heater, turn it off and unplug it. If it is left on when it’s not needed, it’s very easy for the space heater to overheat and start a fire in your home. When unplugged, it can’t pose a risk. Let it cool down, and put it away where it can’t be tripped over.
This guide will help you use your space heater safely, and ensure that you won’t have any fires in your home. Take good care of your space heater, and pay attention when you’re using it. If you do this, you’ll be sure that you’re avoiding the risk of fire with your heater.