Space heaters are commonplace during Michigan winters. However, if used improperly, these convenient heat sources become a dangerous fire hazard. The CPSC estimates that space heaters, including both fixed and portable heaters, are associated with about 21,800 residential fires every year. Yikes! Luckily, if you stay informed on how to properly use space heaters, your home can avoid becoming a statistic.
Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to selecting a space heater; check that any heater you purchase comes with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory. These heaters have been rigorously reviewed to ensure that they’re as safe as possible for your home.
Never use extension cords
A space heater should always be plugged directly into the wall. Extension cords and powerstrips are not built to handle the high current flow of space heaters, and can quickly become overheated.
Keep it on the floor
It may be tempting to prop a space heater up on a table or chair so that the heat is closer to you, but this is something you should never do. These unstable surfaces are prone to getting jostled, which could lead to your heater being knocked over. The safest spot for a space heater will always be solid ground, and ideally not on carpet.
Give it space
When setting up your heater, don’t place it in the way of foot traffic, and keep any flammable objects at least three feet away.
Let it rest
Lastly, always remember to shut off your space heater before you leave the room or go to bed. If it runs continuously, the components may become worn down, which means a higher chance for malfunctions.