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When Your Furnace Isn’t Enough: Space Heater Savvy

Know the Rules and The Risks with Portable Space Heaters

furnace, heating

When it comes to convenience, space heaters are often seen as the perfect solution to add supplemental heat to your home, office or apartment. Portable and now available in a variety of styles and shapes, they are popular among college students, apartment dwellers, office workers and homeowners who don’t have a furnace they can count on throughout the colder months.  All they need to operate is a simple electrical outlet. What’s not to like?

Unfortunately, incidents involving space heaters comprised more than 43% of home heating fires between 2011-2015 and even worse, were implicated in more than 85% of fire deaths within the home during that time. The bottom line? If you’re going to use a space heater, understand how it works, what it can do, and what to avoid. A little safety awareness goes a long way towards preventing tragedies later on.

First, know the “don’ts:”

Don’t leave a space heater on when an adult leaves a room. Period. This means a space heater should never, ever be left on in a child or infant’s room when an adult is not there, awake, to supervise. Concerned about cold nights for your baby? Dress them in multiple layers for maximum warmth. But don’t leave them alone with the space heater left on for heat throughout the night. Electrical short circuits, a malfunctioning system or even a cat knocking over the space heater can result in disaster.

Don’t leave a space heater on when you’ve gone to sleep. It seems counter intuitive to have to turn off the heater before you go to bed, but the reality is that too many things can go wrong when space heaters are left on for hours and hours. Did you know that most fire deaths within the home are between midnight and 8AM?

Don’t use a space heater to dry clothes, or to warm food or bedding. This may seem obvious, but it’s always worth repeating.

Now, know the dos:

Do make sure you have installed and maintained carbon monoxide and smoke alarms throughout  your home or apartment. Replace the batteries regularly. Smell something burning or a gas odor when turning on your heating appliance? Turn it off  and unplug immediately. For stationery units, consider calling the gas company or fire department to have a look.

Do install a three-foot safety zone between the space heater and furniture, drapes, toys, and more. This is extremely important. One of the leading causes of fire for a space heater is when household items get tangled up in its coils. Whether knocked over or pushed to the side, a space heater can ignite in an instant. A firm boundary around the heater will make a huge difference, allowing it to operate more effectively while keeping your family and friends safe.

As Lorraine Carli, vice president of National Fire Protection Association explains, “Space heaters can be effective tools for providing added warmth at home, but it’s critical that people follow basic precautions to ensure that they’re used safely.”

If you’re using a space heater this winter, don’t take a chance. Better yet? Call Air-Tro today to have a look at your furnace. Operating properly, it’s the safest and most cost effective way to heat your home, office or apartment.

Having problems with your furnace? Call Air-Tro today to discuss how you can get the most from your heating and air conditioning. (626) 357-3535.