As temperatures begin to drop, you may find a bit of a chill in the air. If you're like me, you aren't quite ready to commit to turning your furnace on for the season and may reach for the space heater you have in the closet, but before you plug it in, read this first to make sure you are using it safely.

A Very Real Risk

Whether you just aren't ready to turn on the furnace yet, or you want to save a little on your gas bill, an electric space heater can be a great option to knock the chill out of the air. However, if used incorrectly, there is some serious risk involved.

Plug In Directly

When you use your electric heater, you want to be sure that you are plugging it directly into the wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or a power strip/surge protector. A space heater, which draws a tremendous amount of energy, can actually overload a surge protector, causing it to overheat or even catch on fire.

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According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, portable heaters can be deadly when not used appropriately.

Portable heaters, including space heaters, are the top cause of deaths in home heating equipment-related fires on average. Portable heater fires were responsible for about 100 of the total 240 estimated deaths each year associated with home heating equipment from 1999-2003. - US Consumer Safety Commission
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Other Electric Heater Safety Tips

In addition to plugging your electric space heater directly into a wall outlet, there are other safety precautions that should be taken, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends that space heaters not be used on carpeted surfaces or rugs and says that a distance of at least three feet should be maintained between heaters and bedding, curtains, and furniture.

  • Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • To prevent the risk of fire, NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or place a space heater close to any sleeping person. Turn the space heater off if you leave the area.

Stay Warm and Stay Safe

 

While some of this may be common knowledge to some, it wasn't for me. I did not know the dangers of using a space heater with a surge protector, and I wanted to share in case you didn't know this either. Stay safe and warm!

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Gallery Credit: Kat Mykals