Are Space Heaters Really Safe?

Last updated: November 16, 2020
Published 11:45 pm

Introduction

As winter is fast approaching, investing in a good heater is the best idea. Heaters are a way to enjoy the cold, along with a blanket and a warm cup of tea. There are many different kinds of heaters, among which are space heaters. Space heaters are very handy and heat a small area of your room. It is used for added warmth and can be powered by electricity or burnable gas like fuel or natural gas. The most popular type is the electric space heater because the gas-powered needs a permanent exhaust. There have been a lot of safety concerns about the safety of space heaters. About forty percent of home fires that happen during winter result from the improper use of space heaters, 20 percent of these fires occur at night between 8 p.m. and midnight. The issue with space heaters is not the safety of the product but the improper ways people use these projects. There are many safety measures that need to be put in place before purchasing a portable space heater. In this article, we’ll discuss the different ways to use space heaters and how to ensure optimum safety in your home.

Also, see

Are Space Heaters safe to Leave on all night?

Do Space Heaters use a lot of Electricity?

Are Space Heaters Safe?

Many people perceive space heaters as dangerous because of the fire hazards it is known to cause. Space heaters are the cause of about 55,000 fires yearly and more than 1500 accidents. The misconception about this is that the product itself is unsafe to use; however, the improper use of these products causes most of these fires. These home fires mostly happen when the heater is left overnight, knocked over by your child or a pet, overheats, or heats flammable objects. To understand how to use a space heater safely, you should know how the incorrect use of space heaters can cause accidents or injury. Some of the dangers of using a space heater are stated below

  • Electric space heaters, just like any electrical appliance, can cause shock hazards. This happens when it is plugged in incorrectly or when the user comes in contact with an exposed wire
  • Space heaters can get really hot and heat up flammable materials like curtains beside it, causing them to burn.
  • Space heaters use a lot of electricity; this can overload the circuit and cause fire or power failure.
  • If left unattended, it can overheat and burn up things around it.
  • If you have kids or pets, they are at risk of getting burned if they accidentally touch the hot surface. It is also possible for your clothes to get burned if they get too close to it.

Most of the dangers posed by space heaters are associated with how it is placed; this is a big deal, especially if you have pets or kids around the house. These problems can be avoided just by setting up your space heater in the safest locations. When setting up your space heater, keep in mind that it should be entirely out of children’s reach and away from flammable materials; you can put it in an area that is less central to your floor plan. To avoid burning up objects around it, it is advisable to place it 3 feet away from the objects in the room. Leaving a space heater unattended may cause it to overheat, which can lead to accidents; this is why it is a bad idea to use your space heater overnight. You should switch off your space heater for a few minutes in between use to give it enough time to cool.

How to Safely Use a Space Heater

When using a space heater, safety should be the first thing on your mind. There are a lot of safety precautions that can be followed to avoid the fire and electrical hazards caused by it. Below are some of the safety tips you can follow to ensure safety in your home

  • The first thing to do when you purchase a space heater is to read the user’s manual. This is very important because it contains instructions that are peculiar to that brand or type of space heater. Carefully read the instructions on the manual and follow through.
  • Plug the space heater directly to an outlet with enough capacity; this reduces the risk of circuit overload. Space heaters use about 1500 watts of electricity when they at maximum temperature. To avoid fire hazards and power outage, do not plug your space heater into an extension or with other appliances.
  • Keep the heater far away from flammable objects. The NFPA National Fire Protection Association recommends that you keep your space heater three feet away from an object like curtains, beds, blankets, rugs, clothing, or furniture. This is because the space heater tends to get very hot, and it may burn up the objects around it. Space heaters need a lot of space to function well.
  • Do not keep your space heater running when you are not in the room. This is one of the most common causes of space heater fire hazards. Turn off your space heater when leaving the room, and do not leave it to run all night. If you have to keep your heater on through the night, make sure it has top-notch safety features.
  • Purchase a space heater with safety features. A lot of space heaters are built with safety features that improve its safety and efficiency; look out for space heaters with these features.
  • Unplug your space heater when it’s not in use to avoid damage caused by power surges.
  • Keep your heater away from water or damp places. Do not use it in the bathroom or a humid basement. Electric space heaters, just like other electric appliances, are not designed to function in wet areas. If your hands are wet, dry them with a towel before touching the space heater to protect you from electrical shock.
  • Inspect your space heaters regularly and check for damages or exposed wires. Clean your heater at least once a week and carry out maintenance checks to ensure it’s working correctly. Wiping the surface of your heater will reduce the amount of dust and allergens passed around your that area.
  • Do not use your space heater as a dryer. Don’t use it to dry clothes, socks, towels, or other clothing items. If any of these come in contact with the heater, it will burn and cause significant accidents.
  • Set your heater on a level, flat surfaces. Do not place your space heater on cabinets, tables, or furniture because they can overheat and start a fire.

Safety Features to Look Out for in a Space Heater

Overheat Protection

Space heaters tend to overheat when it is on for a while; the overheat protection detects this rise in temperature and shuts it off automatically to prevent overheating.

Tip-Over Protection

Tip-over protection automatically shuts off space heaters when it is tipped over for any reason.

Cool-Touch Housing

This covers the exterior part of the space heater. It covers it up and protects the user from accidental burns when he or she touches the outer surface of the heater.

Conclusion

Space heaters are handy home appliances. They are portable and have the power to heat your entire bedroom. Certain safety measures are to be followed to ensure safety when using the space heater; some of these have been given in this article. If you plan to purchase a new space heater, look out for the safety features listed above.