It’s that time of year when space heaters are starting to emerge in Central Ohio. With fluctuating temperatures and incoming cold fronts, space heaters keep you warm without spending the energy to heat your entire home or office.

They can also balance the temperature when certain areas of the home aren’t evenly heated by your HVAC system. Either way, they can help you save money on energy bills and improve your energy efficiency.

As space heaters cause 1700 house fires each year, safe usage is crucial to prevent accidents. While most people know that space heaters must be used safely, there are some best practices you can utilize to make sure you’re as safe as possible. In this post, we’ll list 9 safety tips for using your space heater this season.

1. Place on a low, level surface

Your space heater should always be placed on the floor, or a low-level surface that is hard and nonflammable. Space heaters aren’t meant to be set on tables or high surfaces where they could easily be bumped or knocked over.

2. Don’t use power strips or extension cords

Plug your space heater directly into the wall outlet. Never use a power strip, plug timer, or extension cord, as these can overload your circuit or overheat your unit, causing fire or electrical damage.  

3. Ensure it has safety features

Many space heaters have safety features like automatic shut-off after a certain time period. It should also have proper safety testing from an independent, certified organization.

4. Keep 3 feet of clear space around the heater

Always keep a clear space of at least 3 feet around your space heater. This includes people, pets, children, furniture, or anything else that can catch fire. Also, be sure to keep them away from any doors, where foot traffic could cause an accident.

5. Unplug when not in use

Because your space heater needs to be monitored at all times, unplug it when it’s not being used. This prevents potential accidents and ensures that your heater won’t be unintentionally turned on. This includes when you go to bed at night.

6. Check your smoke detectors

It’s important to check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors monthly. This is especially true when using a space heater, so you can be quickly alerted to any accidents or burns. Replace your batteries every year and test your detectors regularly to ensure they’re in proper working order.

7. Inspect your space heater regularly

Examine your equipment on a regular basis for frayed cords or any other damage. If the power cord is worn or frayed or the prongs are damaged, stop using your heater right away. Likewise, if your unit is overheating or hot to the touch, unplug it immediately. You can reach out to a professional HVAC company to determine if it’s a fixable problem or if your unit will need to be replaced.

8. Don’t hide the power cord

Never hide your space heater’s power cord under furniture, carpet, or rugs, as it poses a fire risk. Foot traffic can also cause damage to the cord, resulting in accidents.

9. Keep out of high-risk areas

A space heater should never be placed in a child’s room, kitchen, or bathroom. Likewise, you should not use a space heater in other high-risk areas, like a workshop or a garage where paint, gas cans, or other flammable materials are stored.

Have questions about your space heater?

If you have questions about using your space heater or home heating system safely, reach out to us at Expert HVAC Services. Our experts in Central Ohio can help resolve issues and provide additional safety tips. We can also make recommendations to improve your HVAC system for heating your home more efficiently. Contact us today to learn more!

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