Space Heaters: Do's and Don'ts
It's almost that time again... winter. Those of us in the northern part of the country dread it for the unpredictable snow and ice storms, shortened days when it becomes dark at 4 p.m., and extremely cold temperatures that seem to break records every year. Our thermostats can have quite a workout trying to keep us warm and toasty. Many of us even opt for a space heater to help. I have one at my office desk to help with the draft during the winter; it makes co-workers extremely jealous at times. Space heaters can really help you stay warm in cold temperatures if used in the right manner. If not, they can become extremely dangerous. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind while using your space heater so that you stay warm and toasty this winter.
- Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have the most up-to-date safety features. Older space heaters may not meet newer safety standards. Always follow the manufacturer's directions for proper use.
- Place the heater on a level, hard, nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor.
- Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials.
- Keep children and pets away from space heaters at all times.
- Turn the heater off if you leave the area.
- Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or are not home.
- Don't place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
- Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater, as even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of fire.
- Don't use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space unless they are specifically designed for indoor use.
Also, be sure to place smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside of sleeping areas, and inside each bedroom. Guard against carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning as well by installing carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Make sure that the batteries in all alarms are fresh and working.
Hopefully this winter will not be as bad as in the past and you won't have to use a space heater, but at least if you do, you can use it with your mind at ease.