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10 Things You Should Know When Using Electric Space Heaters

When the temperature drops, a portable space heater can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home. One common question is: Are space heaters dangerous? No, unless yours is really old or you're using it incorrectly. Make sure you're using yours correctly with these tips.

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Understand the Dangers

Understand the Dangers

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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. If you follow the instructions for you the answer to the question are space heaters dangerous? is no.

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These are the things you should know when using electric space heaters:

When the temperature drops, a portable space heater can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home. Make sure you’re using yours correctly.

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Safety First

Safety First

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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. Make sure your home's smoke alarms are working properly.

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Check the Cord and Space Heater Extension Cord

Check the Cord and Space Heater Extension Cord

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Check the cord for cracks and make sure the plug isn't broken, this includes any space heater extension cord you use. When plugging in, make sure the connection is secure. Loose connections can be a fire hazard and are inherently dangerous. If the cord or plug is frayed or damaged, do not use the space heater. Fix a loose outlet with these tips.

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Don't Leave Space Heater Unattended

Don't Leave Space Heater Unattended

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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.

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Avoid Trips and Falls

Avoid Trips and Falls

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Do not a leave space heater in high traffic areas because they are a tripping hazard. Learn 10 Ways to Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls at Home.

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Plug Directly into an Outlet

Plug Directly into an Outlet

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Never use an extension cord or power strip to power space heaters because they can overheat and cause a fire. Learn how to Add an Electrical Outlet.

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Keep a Distance

Keep a Distance

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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.

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Look for Safety Features

Look for Safety Features

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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. These home safety tips will help keep you and your family safe.

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Look at Watts

Look at Watts

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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.

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Use for Supplemental Heat Only

Use for Supplemental Heat Only

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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.

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Are they Efficient?

Are they Efficient?

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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.

Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.