A winterized house and a heavy blanket will keep you comfortable during a chilly night, but nothing delivers that toasty, warm-to-the-bone feeling quite like a space heater (except maybe a roaring fireplace). If you’re going to break out a space heater or two this season, take a minute to brush up on these dos and don’ts. That way, your cozy rooms won’t be harboring a fire hazard.
The Dos and Don’ts of Space Heaters:
Do. Check the safety features on your heater. You want one that has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, so check the box (or heater itself) for a UL, ETL or CSA certification symbol. On ours, the symbol is on the bottom.
Don’t. Rely on space heaters for your entire house. This wastes energy and won’t be very effective. Instead, only use a space heater when you’re in the room you’re trying to heat, and close any doors to maximize efficiency.
Do. Choose a model with temperature controls. Multiple settings increase comfort, decrease energy usage and prevent overheating.
Don’t. Use a kerosene or propane space heater indoors! These types of heaters emit carbon monoxide, which is extremely toxic to humans and animals. To be safe, only run these heaters outdoors, where there is plenty of ventilation.
Do. Place your space heater on a nonflammable surface (like tile) and keep it at least three feet away from bedding, curtains, furniture and feet.
Don’t. Leave your space heater on while you sleep or when you leave the house. If you’ve been using your heater to warm your bedroom at night, this is the perfect time to invest in a thicker comforter!
Do. Plug your space heater directly into an outlet. Using an extension cord or multi-plug power strip creates a fire hazard, and should be avoided.
Don’t. Run your space heater in the garage if you have chemicals or highly flammable items (like gasoline or paint thinner) stored in that area.
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