According to the National Fire Protection Association, supplemental heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires from December through February, and the second leading cause of home fires year-round. Keep the following safety precautions in mind when using such equipment, like space heaters.
Use these tips to safely use space heaters:
- Do not use space heaters to warm bedding, thaw pipes or dry clothing.
- Select space heaters with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety mark.
- Purchase units with automatic shut-off features and heating element guards.
- Keep any items that could potentially be a source of fire at least 3 feet away from a space heater.
- Turn off space heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Supervise children and pets around space heaters to prevent burns.
- Check for frayed insulation, broken wires and overheating on electrical space heaters. If you notice any of these problems, have the unit serviced immediately.
- Use only fuel recommended by the manufacturer for liquid-fueled space heaters.
- Turn off the heater and let it cool before refueling.
- Avoid using extension cords with space heaters. If you must do so, make sure that the cord is the right gauge size and type for the heater.
Avoid placing space heaters in high-traffic areas of your home. Units with long cords can present a tripping hazard.