Space Heater Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
There are lots of benefits that come with using space heaters. However, you should know that the space heater is prone to fire and this is why knowing the space heater safety tips is extremely important. In order to save money during the cold winter months, a lot of people have opted to use space heaters in heating one area in their house instead of using a heater that can heat an entire structure.
But when it comes to using the space heater, it is important that you exercise utmost caution. According to the NFPA, or National Fire Protection Association, it has been estimated that there are almost 20,000 residents who died each year due to fire accidents, which is associated to the use of space heaters. So here’s how to ensure safety concerning the use of space heater.
Choosing the Right Space Heater
Before you buy a space heater, it is important that you take into consideration how you plan to use it. Will you be using it for supplemental heat in cold rooms or for other areas? Are you going to use it only for emergency heat? As a general rule, electric space heaters will be much safer to use than the portable models that make use of fuel, such as natural gas, kerosene and propane.
Always choose the type of space heater that is labeled or listed by the nationally recognized testing laboratory, like UL or Underwriters Laboratories, ETL or Intertek and the Canadian Standards Association or CSA. This can help to ensure that the construction and performance of the heater can meet with the voluntary safety standards.
It is also important that you look for certain specific safety features that can shut off the unit automatically on certain conditions, such as the following:
- Touch sensor (it will shut off once the grill is touched)
- Tip-over switch
- Touch sensor
- Low oxygen level, also known as the oxygen depletion sensor
Setup and Use
When you set up the space heater, it is important that you keep it at least 36 inches far from flammable or combustible materials and ensure that you settle it on the floor, except if it’s not designed for floor use.
Those areas where space heaters are being used must be free from any flammable liquids. Do not ever put them on combustible surfaces or those materials that ignite easily, such as carpets and rugs. Moreover, avoid using it to dry wet clothes.
When it comes to using the space heater that is fuel fired in an enclosed area, it would be best to leave the door and window partially open in order to allow for fresh air to get in. This can help to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide or avoid the depletion of oxygen. Do not ever take kerosene or gas fired heater inside confined spaces because this could lead to deadly results.
All fuel fired heaters that are unvented and have been manufactured after the year 1983 must be equipped with ODS or oxygen depletion sensor. The ODS can shut the heater off as soon as it detects a reduced level of oxygen on the area where the space heater is being used. For propane fired space heaters or those that operates with the use of natural gas, here are the following tips to consider.
- If you notice the smell of gas in the surroundings, never attempt to turn the space heater on. Turn off all the controls and open all windows and doors, then leave the area immediately.
- Keep in mind that unlike the natural gas, propane is much heavier than air and it will not dissipate at a rapid rate. Thus, you should also learn about the propane safety tips if you are using propane-fired space heaters.
- If you get to smell some gas, do not ever touch any of the electrical appliances or electrical switches. Avoid operating the telephone or radio in your area the moment you smell gas.
- Avoid smoking since even a single spark could ignite the gas.
You should clean the space heater regularly, and you must adhere to the manufacturer’s guide for some advice regarding the maintenance and inspection, as well as tips on the use of natural gas for space heaters.
It is important that electric heaters are kept away from wet and moist areas such as bathrooms, because water could easily lead to shock hazard or fire. Moreover, make sure to plug the space heaters directly to an outlet because using the extension cords can lead to fire.
It is also important that you clean the space heater regularly and always adhere to the manufacturer’s guide for advice on the inspection and maintenance of the space heater.
More Tips When It Comes to the Use of Space Heaters
Aside from the tips above, here are more tips when it comes to the use of space heaters, as recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Do not leave the space heater unattended.
- Do not operate a damaged space heater.
- Keep the unit away from drapes, furniture, curtain, clothes bedding and papers.
- Keep the area clear around the heater with at least 3 feet circumference.
- Make sure that the plug is secured well on the wall outlet.
- Avoid overloading the plug.
- Place the space heater in a stable and leveled surface.
Moreover, it is not advisable to be using the same circuit for other high wattage appliances in order to prevent overheating. Plugging too may high wattage appliances in just one circuit outlet could easily lead to overheating, which could eventually lead to fire.
Aside from all the space heater safety tips mentioned above, another important tip is to choose the space heater that has built-in safety features. There are lots of space heaters that come with several safety features designed to minimize and eradicate any potential hazards.
Additional Safety Features
Most of the space heater units of today offer an advanced level of safety protection. Choose something with features that can meet all of your needs. Remember that each and everyone’s needs are different, although there are also lots of varieties available for you to choose from and it should be easy to find the most suitable unit for your needs. Here are some of the safety features that come with the space heater.
- Overhead protection.
- Auto shut-off feature.
- Stable base.
- Cool touch grille and cabinet.
The process of heating a room with the use of a space heater is not really as dangerous as what a lot of people thought. In fact, a space heater is an ideal option as it eliminates the need to invest on a central heating system to combat cold. For those who do not have a regular and accessible heat source during winter, it is best to make use of a space heater for heating.
And in order to make your winter to be safer, experts recommend that you test your smoke and carbon monoxide detector at home. The smoke detector is a great way to detect the presence of smoke coming from fire and will signal an alarm so you and your loved ones will be able to get out of your house safely. On the other hand, the carbon monoxide detector is capable of alerting you in the event of a carbon monoxide buildup.