An electric space heater is a great way to take the chill out of a cool room within the home, and as technology advances, they are becoming safer and more efficient than ever before. Unfortunately, there are people who don’t follow safety guidelines regarding electric heaters, and each year there are numerous injuries and fatalities due to the careless use and misuse of these beneficial household appliances.
The risk of fire is a major concern when using an electric heater of any type, and it’s of the utmost importance to place it a safe distance away from flammable materials such as bedding, furniture, drapery, and clothing. An electric space heater shouldn’t be placed any closer than three feet from flammable items on all sides, and should never be placed in areas where there is a risk of items falling upon it.
Children and Pets
If an electric heater is used in homes where there are children and pets, they should always be supervised while in use. Never leave small children unsupervised in a room with a space heater, even for just a few moments. It only takes a second for a child or pet to receive a serious burn. As an extra measure of precaution, when the unit is off, it should always be unplugged.
Discuss space heater safety with older children, and make the usage rules explicitly clear. In addition, explain to kids who are old enough to understand, the possible consequences of misusing this household appliance. If you aren’t certain your kids will adhere to the rules you establish, don’t allow them to use the space heater unless an adult is present to supervise.
Inspect the cord of your unit on a regular basis to check for problems, and discontinue using it if the cord appears damaged in any way. Also, to avoid an electrical short, which could result in a devastating fire, never connect an electric heater to an extension cord. Plug it directly into an electrical outlet that allows plenty of open space on all sides of the appliance.
Never heat a room with a space heater while sleeping. Invest in electric blankets instead. Many fatalities involving electric space heaters occur at night while household occupants are asleep. This electric heating device should be treated with the same care and concern as an open flame, and household occupants should always remain vigilant when it’s in use.
The most up-to-date electric space heaters are equipped with safety features that will automatically turn it off if the unit should tip or overheat, but don’t solely rely on these safety features. Inspect your space heater on a regular basis, and if it ever operates improperly, return it to the place of purchase, or dispose of it immediately. Electric space heaters are more energy efficient and more affordable than ever, and using a heating unit that may not be safe is never worth the risk.