As the temperatures drop and your home heating costs rise, you may be looking for a way to ease the burden on your furnace and your wallet. Space heaters are a popular choice for many homeowners to provide supplemental heat, but they are not without their risks. If you're considering investing in space heaters for your home, it's important that you recognize those risks and take the necessary steps to ensure your family's safety. Here is more info on some guidelines to keep in mind to help keep your family safe and warm throughout the cold winter months.
Make Sure There's Sufficient Ventilation
Gas space heaters must be ventilated, otherwise you risk carbon monoxide buildup in the room. You'll want a heater that vents outside for safety. Additionally, you should be sure that you have not only a smoke detector, but also a carbon monoxide detector in any room where you're using a gas space heater. You can eliminate this risk by choosing an electric or ceramic space heater.
Consider the Size of the Room
Space heaters come in several sizes. If you choose one that's too small for the size of the room, you'll likely run it at its maximum heat level to keep the room as warm as you can. This may cause the heater to overheat, which can cause a fire. Heaters that are too large for the space may cause your electric bill to spike, and if it's a gas space heater, it might not vent well in a small space. Avoid this risk by matching the square footage of the room to the heat capacity of the space heater before you buy.
Make Sure Your Heater is Certified
Look for a space heater that's certified for safe operation. And, the safest heater options are ones with integrated features to shut the heater down if it tips or overheats. These units have a position sensor that triggers an automatic shutdown if the sensor is no longer upright. They also have a temperature sensor that disables the entire heater if it reaches an unsafe temperature level. The temperature shutdown will actually disable the heater until it has cooled down.
Don't Crowd Your Heater
Space heaters are a fire safety hazard if you don't put them in a safe area. Make sure that you keep several feet of open space around the heater at all times and on all sides. Don't leave any paper, clothing or other combustible materials near the heater, either. Avoid tipping by putting it on a level surface that's made from a hard, non-combustible material.
Avoid the Use of Extension Cords and Power Strips
When you use an electric space heater, plug it directly into a wall outlet. These heaters draw a high current, and you may actually melt the insulation and trigger a fire if you try to draw power for more than one thing or you try to route it through an extension cord. Most power strips and extension cords aren't rated for the amount of power draw that these heaters demand.
Don't Run Heaters Unattended
Space heaters should never be left running in an unoccupied room. When they're left unattended, they could easily be accidentally knocked over by a pet running by. Additionally, you should avoid running them overnight when possible because overnight use can cause the space heater to overheat. And, when you're sleeping, you can't monitor the heater for signs of trouble.
Space heaters of all kinds can be a great resource for keeping your home warm without running your furnace excessively. If you are looking for new space heaters for your home, the tips presented here will help you ensure that you make the right selection for your needs and you operate them safely. The safer you are about your space heater use, the less risk you'll have of a fire or other home insurance claim.