Beware of Space Heaters and Read This First

January 9, 2015

freezing family of three with cups of tea warming near warm radiator in homeIt’s difficult to deny the appeal of space heaters. If someone in your home feels a perennial chill, a space heater can provide spot-on warmth. If you have a particularly cold or drafty room in your home, a space heater can be pressed into duty without having to raise the thermostat for the entire house.

Unfortunately, space heaters lead to more than 25,000 home fires and more than 300 deaths a year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Another 6,000 people a year suffer burns from these heating powerhouses.

It’s not that space heaters are dangerous, per se. Like any electrical device, they are as safe as the people who use them. Exercise care right from the start and purchase a heater that carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label. And select one that is the correct size for the area you wish to heat.

After reading the operating instructions, safely use a space heater in your Florida home and:

  • Ensure that gasoline, kerosene or other flammable liquids are not in the same room.
  • Position it in a smart manner: on a flat, sturdy surface so that it does not tip over; out of the reach and path of children and pets; away from doorways and passageways; and at least 3 feet away from window treatments, clothing and other combustible materials. Keep a space heater even further away from water to prevent electrical shock and electrocution.
  • Plug it directly into an outlet – not an extension cord or power strip – to minimize the risk of fire.
  • Do not tuck the cord under throw rugs or carpeting to hide the cord from view. It could become worn or damaged and trigger a fire.
  • Check it occasionally and place your hand on the plug, cord and outlet faceplate to check it for overheating. If you suspect it is, unplug it immediately and call a licensed electrician.
  • Never leave it unattended, and unplug it before leaving the room.

Remember that space heaters should not be used as a substitute for a functional home heating system. If you have any doubts about yours, err on the side of caution and schedule a furnace maintenance check with Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll also talk with you about the value of a preventive maintenance agreement, which is sure to put your mind at ease – and keep you warm at the same time.

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