Winter is almost officially here. The temperature has noticeably in much of the country and homeowners everywhere are looking for ways to save on their utility bills. After all, heating accounts for 34% of annual utility costs in the average home. Ouch! To combat high utility bills, many homeowners turn to space heaters. These little electric heaters can provide heat when and where you need it. That way you are not paying to heat the entire house when you are spending all of your time in the living room. However, space heaters can also pose a threat if not used properly.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment was involved in more than 57,100 reported United States home structure fires in 2010 alone. These fires resulted in 490 deaths, 1,540 injuries, and more than $1.1 billion in property damage.
Space Heater Safety Tips
- Purchase a heater designed to heat the size of the area you plan to put it in.
- Always place space heaters on a flat surface.
- Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from combustibles.
- Look for space heaters with a tip over automatic shutdown feature.
- Avoid using extension cords with space heaters unless completely necessary. And if you do use an extension cord, NEVER run it under carpets or through doors where they can become pinched or damaged. “This could result in a quiet smolder and go unnoticed until fire starts as it may be too late,” warns TriStar Electric owner Dave Crawford.
- Inspect your space heater’s cord periodically, looking for damage. Also check for a secure plug/outlet fit.
- Do not use heaters in damp, wet areas unless designed for that specific usage.
- NEVER leave a space heater unattended. This includes when you go to sleep.
- Crawford reminds homeowners to not plug space heaters into general use outlets because these circuits may not be sufficient to handle a 1500 watt load with other items on the same circuit.
Call TriStar electric for a free home safety inspection during the holiday season or anytime of the year. It only takes about 30 minutes!
If you have any questions about our blog, “Space Heater Safety Tips,” please contact TriStar Electric, Maryland’s premier residential and commercial electrician, by calling 410-799-5791 or 301-384-8880 or fill out the contact form on our website. You can also follow TriStar Electric on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube.