Space Heater Safety
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Space heaters are the leading cause of home fires during December, January and February. Such disasters can be prevented with a few simple precautions.
Space Heater Safety Tips
- Only purchase newer model heaters that have overheat protection, a tip-over switch and a guard around the heating element.
- Look for a heater that is listed with a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have been tested to meet stringent safety standards.
- Keep heater at least 3 feet away from combustible items such as drapes and furniture. This is the number one cause of space heater fires.
- Heaters should be placed on a flat, level surface away from furniture and foot traffic.
- Use space heaters only as a supplementary source of heat. These devices are designed for use only as temporary supplemental heating.
- Do not leave the heater operating unattended or while sleeping.
- Do not use extension cords with space heaters unless absolutely necessary.
- Inspect the heater’s cord periodically to look for frayed wire or damaged insulation.
- Never run the heater’s cord (or any cord) under rugs or carpeting.
- To prevent electrical shocks and electrocutions, always keep portable electric heaters away from water and never touch an electric heater if you are wet.
- Do not use an electric heater as a dryer by placing clothing over it and never use it as a heater to thaw pipes.
- If you have a liquid-fueled space heater, use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. The wrong fuel could burn hotter than the equipment was designed for and cause a serious fire.
- When refueling, turn off the heater and let it cool down completely before adding fuel. Wipe away any spills promptly.
- Before you buy a kerosene heater, check with your local fire department to ensure that it is legal.
- Regardless of the type of heating system you have, install and maintain at least one smoke detector that is in good working condition on each floor of your home.