It is getting cold outside! And with winter quickly approaching, it’s time to turn on the heat. One of your options for keeping your home warm is to use a space heater.

These handy appliances are great for keeping your family warm. However, it’s essential to know how to use space heaters safely. We’ve put together some top tips to help you keep your home warm while staying safe.

Keep the Space Heater on the Floor

Always place space heaters on a level surface and away from combustible items such as furniture or carpets. Never place them directly on top of furniture or carpeting because they may tip over, causing injury or starting a fire if they come into contact with flammable materials or objects placed too close by.

Furthermore, never place anything on top of, under, or near your space heater that could catch fire if it comes into contact with the heating element inside your unit (for example, paper, clothing, or books).

Keeping your space heater on a rug can also be hazardous. Dust builds up in rugs; if this dust gets into the heating element, it can burn and catch fire.

Wondering where to place your space heater? A flat smooth surface on the floor is best – and tiled floors are perfect.

Move All Flammable Objects Away

It’s advisable to keep flammable items at least three feet away from the heater — preferably more if possible. They radiate a lot of heat, and curtains, bedding, drapes, and furniture can easily ignite if too close to a heat source.

Don’t place anything on top of your heater that might interfere with its airflow, such as blankets or clothing. The heater needs plenty of ventilation to prevent poisonous fumes from escaping into the indoor air.
Make sure that no one uses the space heater as a step stool or climbs on top of it. Also, you should keep all cleaning liquids and powders away from your space heater because these materials can catch fire easily and spread quickly.

Above all, give your space heater plenty of room, even away from walls.

Never Leave the Space Heater Unattended

Space heaters are often used as a supplement for heating because they can provide extra warmth without needing much electricity or fuel. However, leaving them unattended when sleeping or going out of the room is never safe — even if it’s only for a few minutes!

We’re all very busy, and occasionally, it’s tempting to nip out for a few minutes. But never leave a space heater unattended. It only takes minutes for a fire to start (and even less time for things to go wrong if you’re not paying attention).
Even some of the safest space heaters, like oil-filled heaters, can still cause a fire if left unsupervised for long periods.

Don’t Use Power Strips or Extension Cords

If you have a space heater, you should read the instructions before using it. They will usually tell you not to plug them into an extension cord or power strip.

The reason why is that these items can overload the circuit, which can cause a fire. If this happens while you’re sleeping or not paying attention, it can end with tragic results.

Another reason you shouldn’t use an extension cord or power strip is that no overcurrent protection is built into them. If there’s a short circuit in the heater, it will overload the extension cord and cause it to catch fire. Even if the short circuit doesn’t cause an overload, it can create sparks, which are just as dangerous.

Keep Kids and Pets Away

Space heaters have no safety features. When it comes to fire safety, some space heaters have open flames that have no protective features or automatic shutoff when tipped over. If a child starts playing with one and it tips over, the fire could spread quickly and start a fire in the home.

Children also often don’t realize how fire can become, especially if it’s close to them on the floor. What’s more, children often touch hot things without realizing they’re hot until it’s too late.

When a pet gets too close to a space heater, it can suffer burns. So, if you have an indoor pet that spends much time in your home area where you use a space heater, it’s best to keep them away from it altogether. Instead, invest in a comfortable pet bed to keep them warm.

Keep Away from Liquids

Space heaters should never be placed near water. Water and electricity don’t mix, so putting your space heater near water could cause an electrical fire or injury.

Get in touch with the experts at JW Plumbing, Heating and Air for all your winter heating needs.

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