As temperatures cool down and winter arrives throughout the country, many people will use space heaters to stay warm in their homes, garages and workplaces. Though these devices can provide comfort, they can also cause accidents if used improperly. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that thousands of fires and hundreds of deaths have resulted from the use of portable electric or gas heaters in recent years. Though some accidents came from faulty products that were later recalled, others resulted from ignorance and misuse.
Space Heater Safety Tips
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following guidelines for the safe use of portable heaters:
Which Type to Use
-Only use fuel burning-appliances that have proper ventilation.
-Use newer space heaters and make sure they meet the latest safety standards and are certified by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. Avoid older space heaters that do not meet these standards. Newer space heaters, whether they are electric, kerosene, vented or unvented, have all been the subjects of upgraded standards in recent years. Kerosene and electric heaters, for example, must now feature automatic cut-off devices that turn off the heater if it tips over.
-Never use a kitchen range or oven to heat a room. It may overheat or cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
-When heating mobile homes, only use electric or vented fuel-fired equipment.
Where to Put Your Space Heater
-Place heaters on hard, nonflammable and level surfaces.
-Keep space heaters a minimum of three feet away from carpeting, bedding, drapes or other flammable materials.
-Place portable heaters far away from flammable materials such as sheets, curtains, furniture and paper.
-Keep space heaters away from children and pets.
When to Use Your Space Heater
-Use your space heater whenever alert adults can stay in the room to supervise.
-Never leave a space heater turned on when people are sleeping or near any sleeping person.
-Turn space heaters off when you leave the room or nearby area.
More Safety Tips
-Install smoke detectors in every bedroom and every level of the house. Place carbon monoxide alarms outside of bedrooms in each sleeping area. Make sure all of these devices have fresh batteries.
-Inspect gas and kerosene heaters annually to make sure they work properly.
-Watch for recalls of portable heaters.
By following the above guidelines, you can stay comfortable and reduce the chances of injury to yourself and your family. Take steps today to practice space heater safety in your in your home, garage, or business.