Space Heaters Safety Tips

A space heater on fire.

Space heaters create a fire hazard for your home and your family.  Approximately one-third of all house fires nationwide happen during the months between December and February, and space heaters are the leading cause of these fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association(NFPE).  The Harvard University Environment Health and Safety group report that space heaters cause 25,000 home fires a year and 6,000 emergency room visits.

Because of the danger, Five Star’s recommendation is to stay away from space heaters entirely. If your furnace or heat pump is not adequately heating your home or if you have cold spots, we can help!  Make an appointment with a Comfort Advisor to find out how you can be comfortable in your home.  Believe it or not, making your home comfortable (without using supplemental heaters) will also reduce your utility bills AND improve your indoor air quality.

Space Heater Safety Tips

In case you’re not ready to give up your space heater, here are some tips from an article by, a program of the Energy Education Council:

  • Purchase only space heaters that have been safety tested and UL approved. The unit should be equipped with an emergency tip-over shut-off feature and heating element guards. Read and follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for operation and care.
  • Before using a space heater, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working condition.  Checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are part of Five Star’s electrical safety inspection.  Call us for more information!
  • Check to make sure the heater is clean and in good condition, and have all problems professionally repaired.
  • Place heater out of high-traffic areas and on a level, hard, non-flammable floor surface—NOT on carpets, furniture or countertops.
  • Never use space heaters to thaw pipes, cook food, or dry clothing or towels.
  • Keep space heaters at least three feet from combustible liquids like fuel, spray cans, and paint, as well as flammable items such as draperies, blankets, and sofas.
  • Never allow pets or children near an electric heater. Accidental contact could result in serious shock or burns.
  • Do not overload circuits. Never use extension cords or multiple plugs with a space heater, and make sure the unit is not plugged into the same circuit as other electric appliances.
  • If your space heater is plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and the GFCI trips, don’t assume there is something wrong with the GFCI. Immediately stop using the heater until it can be checked by a professional— if not, a serious shock could occur.
  • Never leave space heaters unattended. Turn off your space heater and unplug it before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Replace older space heaters with newer, safer models.

If you have questions about electrical safety or how to more efficiently heat your home, just call Larry!  We service the Upstate of South Carolina and Hendersonville, North Carolina.

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