Space heaters are the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. Ideally, portable space heaters are excellent winter companions as long as essential safety facts are observed. While convenient, electric space heaters pose significant electric shock and hazards when not used correctly. This can result in millions of dollars in property damage, thousands of injuries, and hundreds of deaths.
Home Heating Tips
During the cold winter months, keeping your home warm and cozy means using your heating system or an additional source of heat. With the expense of repairing a central heating system, many people are turning to space heaters to help reduce power bills by delivering warmth to frequently used rooms. Although portable heaters are economical, there are a few issues you need to keep in mind.
Be mindful of safety certifications. Portable space heaters approved by the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories have been examined, verified, and approved to meet safety standards. The manufacturers also provide relevant details about the safe usage and care.
Plug units only into wall receptacles. Always plug portable space heaters directly into wall outlets with sufficient power capacity. Extension cords increase the risks of electrical shocks, overheating, and fires. If an extension cord needs to be attached, choose an appropriately rated and sized one for the appliance.
Choose the right model. Only purchase a space heater if it has a rating that meets your needs. For instance, an oversized electric space heater consumes excess energy and can result in high utility bills. Likewise, a unit rated for small spaces covering large areas works harder to heat the area. Look for portable heaters with overheat shutoff protection that fit your space.
Avoid accidents. Because they are freestanding, placement of space heaters is essential. When deciding where to set one up, remember it will turn hot quickly. The heating element is what spreads warmth around the room.
Make sure it has automatic shut-off features. When leaving a room, turn off and unplug portable space heaters. Many models feature programmable timers useful for programming automatic on and off times for sleeping or leaving for work.
Inspect regularly. Occasionally inspect space heaters, particularly when first using it. Also, cleaning and maintaining it frequently reduces the amount of dust and allergens and ensures proper working condition.
When it’s time to turn up the heat during the winter season, many people just raise the temperature on their central heating system’s thermostat. Stay warm this winter by renewing your home’s energy efficiency to save money and create a more comfortable and safe home.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
To help keep your home safe in the winter, take the time to test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your house. A smoke detector is an efficient way to identify a fire, sound an alarm, and allow your family to escape safely, while a carbon monoxide detector alerts you to dangerous odorless, colorless gas buildup. Always check a detector monthly and again after changing the batteries to guarantee it is working properly.