It’s getting cooler which means that many people will be using portable space heaters. While they may keep you and your family warm, they can also be dangerous.
The U.S. Fire Association’s Winter Residential Building Fires report shows that each winter there are more than 108,400 residential building fires. Those fires cause hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and over a billion dollars in property loss. Space heaters cause 23% of residential fires.
When buying a space heater, there are several things you should look for:
• An overheat sensor that shuts the heater off before it poses a fire risk.
• An electric heater, not one powered by kerosene or other fuels.
• A space heater that has a built-in thermostat.
• An automatic shut-off that cuts power if the space heater overheats, topples over, or if something comes into direct contact with the heating element.
• Check to be sure that the heater you purchase has not been recalled because of safety issues. Check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
Here are some safety tips when using your space heater:
• Move all furniture and combustible items at least 3 feet away from the heater.
• Only use space heaters for a limited time, and always turn it off at night.
• Do not place electric heaters in bathrooms.
• Never use a heater to dry clothes or other combustibles.
• The space heater must be plugged directly into an outlet. Do not use an extension cord.
• Heaters with damaged cords should never be used.
• Always turn off heater when you leave the room, and unplug it when you leave the house.
• If you plan to store a space heater after use, make sure it has cooled down first.
• Keep young children away from heaters.
For the Consumer Product Safety Commission web page, click here.