Feel that? It’s the chill of fall hitting homeowners across the country—brrr! If your home has inconsistent or poor heating, purchasing a space heater isn’t a bad idea. Before your family members (including the four-legged furry ones!) come flocking to your cozy new friend, make sure you’ve read our seven tips for safe space heater use.
1. Pick the right heater for your home. Space heaters come sized for different spaces; make sure to choose the correct heater based on the dimensions of your room.
TIP: If your space heater is too small for the room, it’s more likely to overheat as a result. If it’s too large, it’ll consume more energy (a big hit to your wallet!).
2. Quality matters! Older space heaters may not meet current safety regulations, so it’s worth it to purchase a new one now instead of digging out the one your grandmother bought back in 1975.
TIP: Make sure your heater has the latest safety features and is lab-tested and certified. Some newer models have automatic shutoff features should the unit overheat or upend, preventing space heater damage. Others will shut off if they detect an object is too close (great for households with pets or children).
3. Clear the area. There should be at least three feet of open space on every side of your space heater.
TIP: Make sure you place the unit far from any curtains, bedding, furniture or other flammable materials. Keep the room tidy as well—you don’t want any stray newspapers or old report cards coming into contact with the heater!
4. Position it correctly. You should place your heater on a flat, level surface that isn’t flammable.
TIP: Experts recommend a ceramic tile floor. This will keep your heater upright.
5. Plug it in safely. Never plug your space heater into a power strip or extension cord—this could overload the circuit and start a fire.
TIP: Plug it directly into the wall and avoid using other high-wattage appliances simultaneously!
6. Don’t leave it unattended. The number one key to space heater safety is TURNING IT OFF when you leave the room.
TIP: Always turn off a space heater when you leave the room for any reason and when you go to bed at night. To be extra safe, unplug it—that way there’s no risk of a fire starting.
7. Keep your home’s safety measures up-to-date! There should be a working smoke alarm in every room you plan to use a space heater. Test the batteries once per month and replace them biannually or as necessary!
TIP: If you opt for a gas space heater, install a carbon monoxide alarm as a smart precautionary measure.
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