During the winter season on those frigidly cold days, nothing feels better than some extra warmth and comfort assistance that a space heater can provide! However, it is important to remember that space heaters can be dangerous if they aren’t positioned, used and maintained properly. So McLean Insurance has put together some Space Heater Safety Tips.
Safety is the utmost important thing when using a space heater. Look for features that make the Space Heaters easier and safer to use. When shopping for a Space Heater, consider the following:
- Look for models verifying that the heater’s construction and performance meet voluntary U.S. safety standards. Recognized testing laboratory labels include-UL (Underwriters Laboratory), ETL (Intertek), or CSA (Canadian Standards Association)
- Choose a heater that has a sensor that shuts itself off, if it begins to overheat
- Select a model with a guard around the heating element
- The Thermostat option, this will maintain the space heater at the temperature you set, saving you the trouble of adjusting the heat
- Models with a Handle, if you will be moving your space heater from room to room, look for a lightweight model with a safe grip handle
- Space Heaters with a power cord over 70 inches long, offering more options to be placed. However if you use an extension cord, choose a 12 or 14 gauge model. Overloaded, undersized, or frayed power cords are a major cause of fires, injuries, and deaths associated with space heaters. Also, be sure to inspect electric space heater cords for damage regularly
- Models with a tip over switch or touch sensor. These features will automatically turn the heater off if its knocked over or the grille is touched
The National Fire Protection Association offers the following safety advice:
- Don’t leave an electric heater unattended while it’s plugged in. Place the heater on a level, flat surface where children and pets can’t reach it and never in a child’s room. Use a heater on a tabletop only when specified by the manufacturer. If you place it on furniture, it could fall and be damaged
- Don’t use a space heater in a damp or wet area unless it’s designed for outdoor use or in bathrooms. Moisture could damage it.
- Keep combustible materials such as furniture, bedding, and curtains at least three feet from the front of the heater and away from its sides and rear. Don’t use a heater near paint, gas cans, or matches. Keep the air intake and outlet clear.
- Run the electric cord on top of area rugs or carpeting so that you can step over it and not abrade it underfoot. Plugging another electrical device into the same outlet or extension cord as the heater could cause overheating.
It is reported that 50% of all home-heating fires occur in December, January and February. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters, resulting in more than 300 deaths. In addition, an estimated 6,000 people receive hospital emergency room care for burn injuries associated with contacting the hot surfaces of room heaters, mostly in non-fire situations.
McLean Insurance wants their customers to stay warm but also safe during the cooler months!