According to the National Fire Protection Association, supplemental heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires from December through February, and the second leading cause of home fires year-round. Keep the following safety precautions in mind when using such equipment, like space heaters.
Use these tips to safely use space heaters:
- Do not use space heaters to warm bedding, thaw pipes or dry clothing.
- Select space heaters with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety mark.
- Purchase units with automatic shut-off features and heating element guards.
- Keep any items that could potentially be a source of fire at least 3 feet away from a space heater.
- Turn off space heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Supervise children and pets around space heaters to prevent burns.
- Check for frayed insulation, broken wires and overheating on electrical space heaters. If you notice any of these problems, have the unit serviced immediately.
- Use only fuel recommended by the manufacturer for liquid-fueled space heaters.
- Turn off the heater and let it cool before refueling.
- Avoid using extension cords with space heaters. If you must do so, make sure that the cord is the right gauge size and type for the heater.
- Avoid placing space heaters in high-traffic areas of your home. Units with long cords can present a tripping hazard.