Understand the Dangers
Your space heater should have a label that shows it was tested in a recognized laboratory. Before using the heater, read and understand the manufacturer's instructions and warning labels.
Space heaters account for one-third of all home fires and four out of five home-heating fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
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Check the Cord
Check the cord for cracks and make sure the plug isn't broken. When plugging in, make sure the connection is secure. Loose connections can be a fire hazard. If the cord or plug is frayed or damaged, do not use the space heater.
Don't Leave Space Heater Unattended
When leaving a room, turn the space heater off. You should also turn the heater off when sleeping and never let pets or children play too close to the heater.
Have a little one at home? Baby-proof your home with these tips.
Avoid Trips and Falls
Do not a leave space heater in high traffic areas because they are a tripping hazard.
Plug Directly into an Outlet
Never use an extension cord or power strip to power space heaters because they can overheat and cause a fire.
Keep a Distance
Make sure space heaters are kept at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including rugs, clothing and paper.
Plus: How to Prevent Home Fires.
Look for Safety Features
Look for a space heater that has safety features such as a tip-over switch, overheat sensor and touch sensor. Because, these features can help prevent overheating which can result in a fire.
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Look at Watts
Look at the wattage to determine how much heat a space heater will produce. Most electric space heaters range from 400 to 1,500 watts. Additionally, many models will allow you to adjust the output over a given range.
However, are you using a space heater because your furnace is not working correctly? Try these Simple Furnace Fixes.
Use for Supplemental Heat Only
A space heater is meant to provide supplemental heat only. They should never be used to warm linens, cook food or dry clothing.
Before winter comes, check out this Fall Furnace Maintenance Guide.
Are they Efficient?
While space heaters may work to warm up smaller rooms in your home, they are not an efficient heat source. In fact, the Department of Energy's EnergyStar program doesn't certify space heaters for this reason. Space heaters should be used as a short-term fix opposed to a long-term solution.
Tame your heating bills with these 9 Home Energy Conservation Tips for the Winter.