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5 Space Heater Safety Tips

A header Image of the blog title "space heater safety tips" with a background of a space heater thing

On those cold days when Jack Frost shows up to nip at your nose, it is time to turn up the much-needed heat. For many home-owners, this merely means adjusting the thermostat on their central heating system.

 However, in many incidents, when you want to warm a small area for a short time frame, a space heater would be the answer. For instance, an office or maybe a sewing room or man-cave. 

Most people use it to heat a single room while saving on utility bills. According to the  National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), space heaters are the reason for 1/3 of residential fires, with four out of five residential heating fire fatalities. Safety is always our first concern at All hour Air. That’s why we need to follow the space heater safety tips

As you can see, with these statistics, it is vital that you understand and apply the following safety tips discussed in this article. Keep in mind these suggestions could save you and your families lives. Applying close attention is a must.    

Space Heaters Safety First

A sign board of safety first with a background of a warm cup

No matter what brand or type of space heater you use, it is vital that you follow the safety tips below to reduce the chance of fire and injuries significantly.   

  • Keep anything that can burn, including furniture, curtains, and bedding at least three feet away from it.
  • Establish a three-foot “kid-free zone” around it, and never one in a child’s bedroom.
  • Run all power cords on the top of carpets and never step directly on the power cord. Always step over to avoid abrading and never use extension cords.
  • Turn space heaters off before going to bed or leaving a room for an extended time.
  • Never use it in a wet or damp area unless the heater’s design is for that purpose.
  • Never place a heater on a countertop unless the directions permit.
  • Install carbon monoxide and smoke alarms and make notes to test monthly.
  • Only purchase “UL Listed” space heaters that have on display the UL mark on their label. That is an independent association that tests for safety.
  • Don’t use oil or gas burning space heaters indoors. Such heaters are safe to use in open or outdoor spaces such as porches or tents.
  • Read and follow all manufacturer’s instructions for space heaters safely

How Space Heaters Work

a space heater which relates to how space heater works

Space heater work is not only warm the person but also the room they occupy through two different methods; convection, and radiant heat.

Convection takes place when the air around it is heated. Radiant heat resembles the heat you feel when sunlight touches your skin. The closer you get the more radiant heat you will feel.        

The hot air produced through the convection process rises to the ceiling while pulling the cool air in the direction of the heater. Next, the air is then heated, and it too rises towards the ceiling.

Once the air reaches the ceiling, it then begins a cooling process and will start to fall. Once again, the cycle repeats itself.

This process is known as a convection loop, as the air that is close to the ceiling tends to be warmer, the “convection loop” eventually helps keep the whole room warm.   

A space heater built-in fan will naturally distribute more of the heat farther away from the space heater than just relying on convection by itself. It does this to warm a room quicker and more evenly.

Space Heater Choices

two arrow signboard left and right with a text of choice that relates to space heater choices

Today’s advanced technology affords the buyer the luxury of adding heat to a would be a cold area. It is just as important that you know the types of space heaters you need as it is where and how to use the equipment.

While the modern heater models include numerous features that assist with ensuring you and your families safety, it is vital that you be aware of these at all times. Portable space heaters designed with a tilt- or tip over-switch automatically shuts the heater down if it is tipped or turned over for any reason.

That feature is useful in areas where there are active pets and children. Space heaters overheat protection feature functions in the same manner. It has a built-in temperature sensor that detects when the internal components become too hot.

If an unsafe temperature is detected, it will automatically shut off to prevent overheating. As a general rule of thumb, most electric heaters are typically safer than fuel-burning, portable models (propane, kerosene, natural gas.)               

Before you select as to what safest space heater to buy for your environment, it is vital to understand the dynamics and what you need to consider. Will the heater be used as emergency heat? Will you use it as supplemental heat in areas that have more cold air?

For safety purposes, remember to pick a product that is labeled or listed by a nationally recognized testing facility such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories), ETL (Intertek) or  CSA (Canadian Standards Association.) By doing so, you are ensuring your purchase meets safety standards and its construction. 

Also, be sure you check for detailed safety features that will automatically shut the unit off. These include:

  • Low oxygen levels (aka oxygen depletion sensor)                                                                                                
  • Touch sensor (if the grill is touched)
  • Tip-over switch
  • Overheating

The features are essential for you to ensure a safe environment. Be sure to follow the recommendations before you operate space heater.

Inspect and Maintain Your Purchase

It is just as vital that you inspect your it as it for your tune-up on the furnace in your home. You should examine your heater occasionally, particularly before you use it for the first time. Frequent duct cleaning and maintenance are necessary to ensure it is working safely.    

Be sure to wipe it as this will help with reducing the allergens and dust that will disperse in the immediate area in use. Moreover, never use a heater that you feel is unsafe or defected.   

Be Aware of Water

A signboard of "beware of water" with a background of droplets

Unless you purchase a heater designed for damp spaces, refrain from usage in a bathroom or humid area such as a basement. Moreover, do not touch it if you have wet hands, by doing so you are increasing your risk of electrical shock.  There are heaters such as products by DeLonghi that are safe to use in bathrooms.

The best heating safety for you and your family is education

Safety hazards should be your primary interest when you are considering purchasing a portable space heater. Space heater safety tips listed in this article is a great start. The rest will rely on your close observation while your heater is in use.

The more you know, the more peace of mind you will have on having a safe, warm, fire-hazard free winter. If you have further concerns or questions, feel free to call our All Hours Air office at (775) -376-9908, and one of our technicians will be more than happy to help.

Remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question. We would rather you be safe than sorry this winter. For all your other Heating repair services, call our team of professionals, we are always available to lend a helping hand.     

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