Save on Pinterest

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.

1 / 12
Understand the DangersMihaStock/Shutterstock

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. If you follow the instructions for you the answer to the question are space heaters dangerous? is no.
2 / 12

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.

3 / 12
Safety FirstMichael Dechey/Shutterstock

Safety First

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.
4 / 12
Check the Cord and Space Heater Extension CordFlegere/Shutterstock

Check the Cord and Space Heater Extension Cord

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.
5 / 12
Don't Leave Space Heater UnattendedFamily Handyman

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.
6 / 12
Avoid Trips and FallsSilviaJa/Shutterstock

Avoid Trips and Falls

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.
7 / 12
Plug Directly into an Outleticemanj/Shutterstock

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. Learn how to Add an Electrical Outlet.
8 / 12
Keep a DistanceFamily Handyman

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.
9 / 12
Look for Safety FeaturesMirko Graul/Shutterstock

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. These home safety tips will help keep you and your family safe.
10 / 12
Look at WattsSashkin/Shutterstock

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.
11 / 12
Use for Supplemental Heat Onlyvictoras/Shutterstock

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.
12 / 12
Are they Efficient?rawf8/Shutterstock

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.

Up next, check out these space heater safety tips and the best space heaters for every room.

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