Heater Safety Remains A Top Concern Of Fire Departments
If you’re using a portable heater, then heater safety needs to be one of your concerns too. Year after year and winter after winter, there is always one terrible fire or other serious heater related tragedy. No matter how safe portable electric heaters are designed, there’s always somebody willing to test the limits by ignoring basic heater safety guidelines. While professionally installed and vented gas heaters or similar devices are generally going to be safer and more cost effective, we know that, often enough, cold homeowners or apartment dwellers are simply going to stick with portable electric heaters. The problem is not that they are too inefficient or too expensive, but rather, that they’re too portable! That can lead to almost all of the heater safety concerns we’re going to list below.
As portable electric heaters go, a unit that’s circulating heated oil in a self contained radiator style is going to be far safer than one with radiant coils or halogen lamps. With an electric oil heater there is no more danger of accidental combustion than with any other electric appliance in your home.
While electric oil heaters are the safest, lots of people prefer the warm glow of a radiant or halogen heater. If you’re going to use one, read the complete manufacturers operating instructions first and bear these heater safety tips in mind.
Every time you move any portable heater, you’re going to need to review this heater safety list again.
Any heater needs to be placed squarely and soundly on a floor. Cables or cords need to be exposed and thus avoided rather than buried or hidden under a rug or anything else. Portable electric heaters are major appliances and they need to be treated like the fridge or the washing machine, i.e.; with respect.
Make sure you’re plugging into a secure, grounded outlet. Anything else, or a plug that is loose, can overheat and increase your risk of fire. Check the temperature of the outlet from time to time. Just place your on the face with the unit unplugged. Stop using the heater if it feels hot.
Don’t operate any heater in the same room with paints, solvents or any other flammable liquids.
Portable electric heaters with labeling by Underwriter’s Laboratories Inc. (UL), are going to give you the safest operation.
Keep three feet of space between any heater and combustible objects like drapes, furniture, shirts hanging from furniture or anything that might be set down in front of the heater. Put it somewhere else, and don’t put anything on top.
Don’t run your heater in any wet or damp room unless you bought a unit specifically designed for such an area. Usually these are labeled as bathroom heaters and they are suitable for use in a more humid environment.
Don’t run any space heater unattended or while sleeping.
You also need to be extra attentive to children when running a portable heater.
A portable heater can be a great way to provide supplemental heat in a cold space or anyplace where your home’s central heat is not reaching. But every portable heater poses some risk of fire. Operating your portable heater safely should remain in the forefront of your mind every time the unit is plugged in, or moved.
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Filed under: Heating Maintenance