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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Space Heater Safety Basics

2/7/2020 (Permalink)

Flames shoot from a space heater in a bedroom Follow our basic safety guidelines to prevent a space heater fire that could destroy your home.

Electric space heaters are handy for taking the chill out of a room and keeping you and your loved ones comfortable in your home. Unfortunately, they also cause about one in three winter house fires and four out of five winter heating fire deaths. Why? Space heaters can easily overload home electrical circuits, they have components that can become very hot and some models are prone to tipping over. 

As with many consumer products, today’s space heaters are safer and more efficient than older models. Particularly in the last decade, renters and homeowners benefit from better technology and more built-in safety features, like a tip-over shutoff switch.  

When Purchasing a Space Heater

Always buy a new space heater, never a used one. When you are researching and making a purchasing decision on a space heater, always look for these features:

  • A safety certification label from an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), ETL/Intertek or CSA International.
  • Automatic shutoff features, like a sensor that shuts off when it detects that the heater has overheated or tipped over.
  • A sturdy electrical cord that’s at least 6 feet long.
  • A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) plug to prevent electric shock is a plus, but if you buy a model that doesn’t have one, don’t use the heater near water.

When Using a Space Heater

When using your electric space heater, follow these guidelines:  

  • Plug your heater directly into an outlet, never an extension cord or power strip, which can overheat and start a fire.
  • Keep people, furnishings and objects at least three feet away from the space heater.
  • Be especially vigilant in keeping children and pets away from the space heater.
  • Never use a space heater for cooking, drying clothing or warming linens.
  • Don’t store clothing on or around the heater, and keep it away from curtains and bedding.
  • Don’t use the space heater in high traffic areas, such as doorways—it could become a tripping hazard.
  • Keep the heater away from sources of water, such as the kitchen or bathroom.
  • Never leave the heater running all night or when you are sleeping.
  • Turn off the space heater when you leave the room.
  • Unplug the heater when you’re not using it.

When you have suffered a fire or other disaster at your home or business, call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield at 860-216-2785

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When you have suffered a fire or other disaster at your home or business, call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield at 860-216-2785

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