Electric space heaters pose safety hazards

Electric space heaters pose safety hazards
(Wikimedia Commons photo by Genppy)
Man it's cold!

A lot of us are using space heaters to stay warm. And that's fine. But you've got to be careful. Electric space heaters don't have a flame, but they can start a fire.

"You must keep all combustibles three feet from the heat. That means your bedding, your furniture, your draperies, all should be away from that space heater," says John Drengenberg, a safety expert at Underwriter's Labs.

"Very often people are tempted to put the space heater very close to their bed to warm if up before they get into the bed, but that really can be very dangerous because the bedding - they quilts, blankets and sheets - are all flammable and could burn."

Put the heater on a level surface so it doesn't tip over. And try to keep kids and pets away from them.

"Because as they jump around, they can accidentally tip over the heater, which is never a good thing to have happen," says Drengenberg.

Unless the heater is designed for use outdoors or in bathrooms, don't use it in damp, wet areas.

You also need to be careful with the power cords.

You don't want to put that cord in front of the unit, where it will get all the heat.

And never run the cord from a space heater under a rug.

"Nobody wants to trip over it, but the fact is that carpet will hold in any heat that's produced by the cord and could cause the carpet to smolder and create a fire," says Drengenberg

Drengenberg reminds us that we it's always best to plug that space heater into the wall socket. Do not use an extension cord unless absolutely necessary.

"Plugging a space heater into the wall is important. Extension cords do work, but the reality is that not all of them can handle the high current that a space heater draws. Space heaters, like any heating appliance is a product that takes a lot of electricity to run and therefore you want to be very careful with extension cords. It's best to plug a space heater directly into the outlet."

And of course, keep that space heater at least 3 feet away from anything that could catch fire.

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More Info:

Space Heater Safety Tips