Safety Tips for Portable Heaters


Now that the kids are back in school and the leaves are changing color, even a hot cup of your favorite Starbucks beverage can’t get the chill out. But if the sight of your electric bill in the winter sends shivers down your spine, you may be interested in using a portable heater to warm up individual rooms instead of relying on the furnace.

People tend to use space heaters when their home heating system is inadequate, or when it costs too much to operate their furnace. Sometimes, a household can save money with space heaters if they only want to heat one room or if they need to supplement because there’s insufficient heating in one particular room in the house.

Space heaters can also raise the temperature in just one room when an individual, especially an elderly person is sensitive to the cold but the rest of the household does not want the rest of the house to be warmer. In other words, the temperature in one room can be boosted without overheating the whole house.

Portable space heaters are generally run on electricity, but some units use propane or natural gas. With all space heaters, safety is a top concern because they are known to contribute to the cause of residential fires.

“While only 32 percent of home heating fires involve space heaters, they are involved in 79 percent of home heating fire deaths, according to a new report Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment,” says the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The NFPA found that the leading factor that contributes to space heater fires was heating equipment being placed too close to things that could burn, such as mattresses, couches, clothing, and blankets. When using a space heater, follow these safety tips:

  • Only purchase newer models equipped with the latest safety features. Avoid buying them at second-hand stores.
  • When you buy a space heater, make sure it has the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Use heaters with thermostats because they cut down on energy usage. They also prevent overheating a room.
  • When selecting a heater for a room, make sure it’s the right size for that particular space. Don’t go too big.
  • Place the heater on the ground, away from where people will be walking.
  • Keep the heater away from pets and especially children.
  • Plug electric space heaters directly into a wall outlet. If you have to use an extension cord, use a heavy-duty model with the shortest possible cord.
  • Keep the space heater away from beds, bedding, clothing, and other flammable materials.

Looking for an Atlanta electrical contractor? Contact Lightning Bug Electric today at (404) 471-3847. We proudly serve the Metro Atlanta Area.

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