How do I use a space heater safely?

Keep watch over your space heater

As colder temperatures approach and you reach for your space heater to help you get cozy and warm, make sure you consider the potential dangers of using one. If misused, it can cause electric shock or fire.

Never plug your space heater into an extension cord. Although handy and convenient, an extension cord cannot handle the energy spikes caused by a space heater and may become overloaded, possibly causing a fire. Also make sure the appliance is plugged in properly so there is not a loose connection, and carefully consider where you’ll place the heater in your home.

Vera Water and Power offers these additional tips to keep you and your family safe while using portable space heaters:

  • Place heaters in open areas and keep them at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, such as paper or rugs; also do not place them near combustibles in your home such as paint, varnish, harsh cleaners, aerosol sprays or nail polish remover.
  • Monitor space heaters when they are in use.
  • Do not use them in potentially wet areas, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Do not use space heaters around small children.
  • Keep space heaters away from pathways or doors in your home, and make sure the cord is not a tripping hazard.
  • Do not use open-coil space heaters.
  • Do not use a heater in disrepair or with a frayed cord or damaged plug.
  • Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the space heater.
  • Before using your heater, read all manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels.
  • Place them on flat, level surfaces and never place on furniture, counters or carpet, which can overheat.
  • Select a space heater that is endorsed by a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Space heaters are for supplemental heat only; they should never be used for another purpose (thawing pipes or drying clothes, for example).
  • When not in use, unplug the heater and put it away.

A space heater can help keep you warm but be sure to use it with care so that you’ll stay safe in the colder months.

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