When it’s cold outside, a space heater can help add warmth and comfort while also providing a cost-effective way to supplement your heating system.
However, while space heaters are convenient, they can also be dangerous. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, space heaters cause an estimated 25,000 residential fires and more than 300 deaths each year. Without careful use, they can also cause serious burn injuries.
This winter, keep safety top of mind and follow these tips when using space heaters:
- Check and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Plug directly into the wall.
- When in use, never leave unattended.
- Keep at least 3 feet away from flammable materials.
- Set on a flat, stable surface.
- If you must use an extension cord with your space heater, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends using the shortest possible heavy-duty cord with a 14-gauge wire or larger. (Remember to read the manufacturer’s instructions for your extension cord.)
Be sure your space heater has a tip-over safety switch — this safety feature automatically shuts off the heater if it falls over.