Portable Space Heaters
Portable space heaters can be a convenient way to warm up a room, but they can also be dangerous if not used properly. When used improperly, space heaters can pose a fire hazard, and when combined with an extension cord, the risk of a fire can be even greater. If you notice smoke stains on the cord or outlet or if you have to rest the breaker it is time to have a Licensed contractor assess your situation to help keep your home and family safe.
The main danger of using a space heater is the risk of fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters are responsible for 43% of home heating fires and 85% of home heating deaths. Space heaters can easily ignite nearby combustible materials, such as curtains, clothing, and furniture. They can also overheat and cause electrical fires, particularly if they are plugged into an overloaded circuit or used with an extension cord.
Using an extension cord with a portable space heater can be particularly dangerous. Extension cords are not designed to handle the amount of current that a space heater draws, and they can overheat and catch fire. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that space heaters be plugged directly into a wall outlet and not used with an extension cord. If an extension cord must be used, it should be a heavy-duty cord that is rated for the wattage of the space heater and should be used for temporary purposes only.
In addition to the fire hazard, space heaters can also pose a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If a space heater is not properly ventilated, it can release carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly. Carbon monoxide can build up quickly and cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and confusion. In severe cases, it can cause loss of consciousness and even death.
To use a space heater safely, it is important to follow these guidelines:
- Choose a space heater with automatic shut-off features, such as a tip-over switch and overheat protection.
- Keep the space heater at least three feet away from combustible materials, such as curtains, bedding, and furniture.
- Never leave a space heater unattended while it is in use.
- Plug the space heater directly into a wall outlet and do not use it with an extension cord.
- Ensure that the space heater is properly ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
In conclusion, using a space heater can be a convenient way to warm up a room, but it can also be dangerous if not used properly. When combined with an extension cord, the risk of a fire can be even greater. To use a space heater safely, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take necessary precautions to reduce the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.