Are you thinking about purchasing an electric space heater for your home? Electric space heaters are popular common household items for a variety of reasons. They’re portable, they’re cost-effective, they’re energy efficient, and they’re the perfect way to heat your home during the chilly winter days and nights. However convenient they may be, electric space heaters can also come with their own set of dangers. Here are some possible dangers that can come with owning electric space heaters and some health and safety tips to help keep your home both warm and danger-free.
Electric Space Heaters Can Cause Fires
You don’t always need a flame to start a fire. The biggest danger that can occur due to electrical space heaters is the threat of an electrical fire. According to the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission and the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 25,000 house fires and associated injuries occur every year due to improper use of electric space heaters. To prevent electrical fires from starting in your home, be conscious of where you place your heater. Keep the space heater away from any flammable surfaces including curtains, blankets, couches, and any other similar materials, as these are things that are known to catch on fire easily. Many electrical space heater owners follow an important rule called the “three-foot-rule.” This means making sure to always keep the space heater three feet away from anything that might possibly be flammable. One way to lower the chances of fires is to purchase a heater with a tip-over safety switch. These switches are safety measures set to turn the heater off if it gets knocked over. Heaters with this switch are especially useful in households with children and pets where having safety measures is extremely important.
Know Where to Place Your Heater
Where you choose to put your space heater is crucial to ensuring that it operates in a safe and effective manner. Always make sure to place your space heater directly on the ground. Never elevate a heater on top of furniture or other flammable materials, and make sure that it is out of the way of commonly used hallways and other small, crowded spaces to avoid causing a tripping hazard from a long cord. Try to keep your space heater in an area with sufficient open space around it to prevent dangerous accidents from happening.
Choose Your Outlet Wisely
Electric space heaters must be plugged directly into an outlet with sufficient power capacity to support its functions. Choosing to plug your heater into an extension cord can increase the chances of the unit overheating, causing an electrical fire, and causing electrical shock-based injuries. Try to avoid plugging any other devices into the same outlet as the heater to prevent the outlet from short-circuiting and causing power shortages.
Keep Electrical Space Heaters Away from Water
Unless you own a model with the specific wiring that makes it safe around water, always make sure to keep your heater away from any liquids. Never use your heater in the bathroom or around any humid areas. Also, refrain from operating the heater with wet hands in order to prevent receiving an electrical shock. Water and electrical wires can prove to be an extremely dangerous combination.
Take Care of Your Heater
Once you are finished in the room where you keep your electrical space heater, be sure to turn it off and unplug it before you leave the room. If you think that there is a chance that you might often forget to turn off our heater, consider purchasing a model with a programmable timer that can be set to turn off at certain times such as when you are at work or when you are going to sleep. This will prevent accidents from happening when you are not there to deal with them.
Be Cautious of Operation Time and Other Common Rules
The best defense against potential dangers from electrical space heaters is a thorough and efficient offense. Try to avoid leaving your electrical space heater on for long periods of time. A few other commonly practiced rules are to never leave your space heater on throughout the night and to always remember to turn it off when you leave your home.
Electric space heaters are a prime choice when it comes to heating a home. The dangers of owning electric space heaters come about when they are used improperly. Accidents may happen, but follow these measures to stay warm and worry-free and help ensure the safety of your household when using an electric space heater to heat your home.