Updated: November 2023

Many people turn to electric space heaters during winter to keep their homes warm. While these appliances are efficient, they do come with certain safety risks. Heating your home may be all you think about when winter rolls around, but it’s essential to ensure you’re doing so safely. Here are some ways to ensure that your space heater is safe for the people in your home and the environment.

1. Know How Your Portable Space Heater Works

Before you start using one, it’s essential to research the product and learn how to use it. Once you get the hang of how your space heater operates, try to figure out safe ways to put it to use. Space heaters are an excellent way of warming up small areas such as a single room or office. However, people must safely use them, so they don’t start a fire.

Read the manual that comes with your space heater before using it. You’ll learn the easiest way to use your unit for maximum efficiency. If you’re unsure about how something works, ask an expert or seek a help guide. Educating yourself is important, so you don’t create additional problems for yourself or others.

2. Keep Space Heater Away From Flammable Objects

It’s essential to make sure that you are using your space heater in a safe way that doesn’t put anyone or anything at risk. Never place it too close to books, bedding, drapes, curtains, or other potentially flammable fabric objects. The same goes for any furniture made of wood. Check the care guide and manufacturer’s recommendations for whatever space heater you purchase. A good distance is to keep the space heater at least three feet away from objects.

3. Always Supervise Your Space Heater

Whenever you use a space heater, you must observe it. If something doesn’t seem right, turn the device off immediately and investigate. Keep the space heater on low, especially in an enclosed room. That will help control temperatures and prevent certain hazards from occurring.

4. Give Your Space Heater Space and Stability

Make sure that your space heater is not placed on top of any pieces of furniture, rugs, carpets, or other unstable surfaces and be sure to keep your space heater away from a wall. Even if you’re using the space heater in an enclosed room, ensure it is not placed where it could fall or turn over and put the people in the room at risk. By keeping the space heater on a flat surface, you can be sure that the heater won’t fall or turn over, cause a fire, or injure anyone in the room.

5. Plug It Directly Into the Outlet

Never plug your space heater into a wall socket adapter or an extension cord. It can become overloaded and start creating a fire hazard. Instead, make sure that you plug the heater directly into the outlet.

Extension cords are not meant for large appliances and should never be used with a space heater. Your best bet is to plug your heater directly into the wall outlet, so there’s less fire risk. Nevertheless, if you must use an extension cord with your space heater, make sure you use one marked as a heavy-duty extension cord and not one marked for indoor use only.

6. Don’t Forgo Proper Ventilation

One of the main issues with space heaters is that they don’t provide adequate ventilation for small areas. If you decide to use a space heater, ensure you ventilate the area by opening a window or door to let in some fresh air. This is a necessary safety precaution because it reduces carbon monoxide buildup in the room.

Ventilation is crucial because carbon monoxide is a hazardous gas that can cause serious problems. When a space heater isn’t properly ventilated, it can create dangerous levels of carbon monoxide throughout the home.

7. Ensure You Have a Working Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

It’s essential to have a smoke detector installed in every room of your home, including the one where your space heater is located. Even if you don’t smell any smoke, a small fire can quickly start and spread until you’re unaware of what’s happening. You may want to consider installing carbon monoxide detectors in areas with space heaters, so you’ll always be alerted when there’s a problem with carbon monoxide levels in your home.

8. Look Out for Signs of Malfunction

Even if you’ve followed the safety tips above, there’s a chance that your space heater could malfunction. A few signs of such a problem include a surge of heat, an unusual smell coming from the space heater itself, or any other strange smells or discoloration in the room. You should turn off and unplug your space heater immediately if you notice any of these signs.

9. Unplug Space Heaters When Not in Use

It may seem like a hassle to unplug your space heater every time you’re finished using it, but it’s much safer than leaving it plugged in. Whenever you’re done using your heater for the day, make sure to unplug it, so there’s no risk of fire or electrical shock.

10. Keep It Out of Reach of Children and Pets

Children and animals tend to be curious about things that stick out, so make sure that you supervise any children who are playing in the same room as your space heater. Also, it’s essential to never leave your space heater on when you step away for an extended time or if you fall asleep. If children or pets are in the home, ensure they’re never allowed to use the appliance unsupervised because they can easily burn themselves or knock it over unintentionally.

11. Keep Space Heaters Away From Water

Space heaters aren’t designed to withstand water damage and should be kept away from faucets, bathtubs, sinks, or wet surfaces. Never let your space heater get so close to any water-based items that they might accidentally spill on your heater. This is because water and electricity are a dangerous combination.

12. Ensure There’s an Automatic Shut-Off Function

One of the main dangers of space heaters is that they can easily get too hot and catch fire. Manufacturers design space heaters with an automatic shut-off feature to help protect your home if imminent danger is detected. This feature will immediately turn off the device if it gets too hot.

13. Have Your Space Heater Professionally Serviced

Regular maintenance is the key to keeping your space heater and your family safe. Consider hiring a professional to do regular checks and maintenance on your heater. The more time you dedicate to caring for your space heater, the more functionality you’ll have and the safer you and your family stay. On Time Experts in Garland, TX can you help maintain your space heaters.

In conclusion, it is always best to use heaters safely and avoid potential fire risks. Homeowners should also ensure that their home is well ventilated to prevent issues with your indoor air quality and overall health. These are just a few tips to keep you, your family, and your space heater safe this winter. We offer air quality, heating, plumbing, and air conditioning services. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact On Time Experts today.

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