How To Use Space Heaters Safely This Winter

As the chill of fall and winter settle into northeastern Indiana, there’s nothing quite like the warmth of a space heater to keep you snug and comfortable in your home.

These compact devices are a popular choice for adding extra heat to specific areas of a home, allowing you to create a toasty sanctuary without cranking up the thermostat for the entire house. However, it’s crucial to use them responsibly to ensure your comfort and safety.

Here are a few essential tips to make sure that you’re safely using a space heater in your home during the winter months.

DON’T LEAVE IT UNATTENDED

When it comes to space heaters, the biggest no-no is leaving them to run unattended. Your space heater is generating heat (either through electricity or another fuel source), which means it can catch things on fire.

“Don’t put flammable items close to the heater because, under the right conditions, it will catch fire,” says Rebecca Serratos, a restoration project coordinator at Paul Davis of Northeast Indiana. “If you leave your heater unattended and it shorts out and overheats that can cause a fire, too.”

When left unattended, a small flame can escalate into a raging inferno in as little as 30 seconds. Within minutes, it can consume an entire home. Don’t take your chances!

CHECK YOUR FILTERS

It’s a good idea to inspect and clean your space heater’s filters at least once a month if you’re using it regularly.

When you check your filters it’s a good idea to give the entire space heater a look over for any damage. Check for frayed or exposed wires or dents that may impact its performance. If air vents are on your space heater, make sure they’re dust-free so air can flow properly.

CONSIDER THE FEATURES

Space heaters come with a variety of features across different makes and models, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re using one that’s right for your needs and spaces.

Whether you’re in the market for a new heater or you’re evaluating an old one, consider a space heater with an automatic shutoff feature. Look for a space heater that has the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label on its packaging. That lets you know that that model of space heater has been tested and has protective features to help prevent a fire in your home.

DON’T DISMISS DAMAGE

If you notice damage like cracks, a frayed cord, or a missing ground plug on your space heater, stop using it immediately. Also, pay attention to any funny noises, smells, or flickering lights that may indicate a malfunction in your space heater.

“Whether it’s only a year old or you used it yesterday, if you’re using a space heater and it seems to be malfunctioning stop using it,” Serratos says. “If it’s a small space heater you may want to replace it. You may want to consider taking it in to a professional for repair it’s a more expensive model, but don’t try to DIY it. If you mess with something like that you can do a lot of damage to your home.”

Always make sure to plug your space heater directly into the wall and never use an extension cord. Avoid coiling your power cord as this can create additional heat that can start a fire when using a space heater.

KEEP CHILDREN AND PETS AWAY

Children and pets are naturally curious about the world around them. Unfortunately, they’re also likely to not be aware of the dangers that space heaters can pose to them.

Space heaters can easily be knocked over by children or pets who are running around a room and playing, which can put the heater into contact with flammable materials and increase the risk of fire. Not only that, space heaters create a lot of heat and have hot surfaces. Children and pets can easily get burnt if they come into contact with the heated surface.

If a space heater does cause a fire in your home, it’s important to call the Difference Makers at Paul Davis of Northeast Indiana as soon as possible to get your home liveable again. Whether you have soot, smoke damage, or charred materials in your home, we have the tools to restore your home and belongings.

Our Difference Makers are available 24/7 by calling us at 260-527-4816.