Cooler temperatures combined with potential power outages and overworking appliances mean that portable electric heaters can be a staple in some households. But bringing them into our home means an increased need for attention to detail and an awareness of safety hazards.
Portable electric heaters and their high wattage have the potential to ignite materials nearby, which can result in a major fire. From 2008 to 2010, an estimated 1,200 fires per year involved portable electric heaters, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC.
There’s nothing wrong with having portable electric heaters in your home, but keep in mind some of these safety tips to make sure you are using them safely:
- Never use a heater you think is damaged, do a quick inspection of the heater, cord, and plug before use.
- Make sure you are nearby to keep an eye on the heater, don’t leave it on when you go to sleep or leave the house.
- Keep all flammable materials at least 3 feet away from the heater, just like with any heating source.
- If anything feels hot, the plug, face plate or cord, stop using the heater immediately.
- Never run the heating cord under a carpet or rugs, and always plug it into the outlet directly, never use an extension cord or power strip.
- Be sure to have any vented heaters inspected by a professional each year.
- Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working and tested on a regular basis.
- Always keep the heater on a stable surface.
- Consider purchasing a heater that automatically turns off if it tips over.
Portable electric heaters can be incredibly effective in heating your home during the winter months. When used safely, they are a great asset. If you have more questions on which heating source or which electric heater to purchase, look at the safety features and do some research.