Prevent A Fire With These 3 Safety Tips For Your Space Heater

As temperatures drop, many people struggle to stay warm in their homes. This is a common complaint during the winter and fall, even from families that have heating and air systems installed. Many people turn to space heaters for extra warmth when fuzzy blankets and thick socks fail to keep them feeling comfortable, but it's important to be careful when you run these portable units. Protect your loved ones by considering these three safety tips before you flip on the switch for your space heater.

Avoid Clutter

Clutter often accumulates on counters and tabletops. This isn't an issue if you don't place your space heater there, so make sure you keep it a few feet away from any piles of paper, clothing, or other flammable items. For example, you may want to avoid setting a space heater on a nightstand next to a pile of laundry, and you may want to avoid putting it on top of a filing cabinet filled with paperwork.

When you choose a spot for your space heater, make sure you find somewhere flat and level. Don't place your space heater at an angle or use other items to prop it up while it runs, and avoid placing it on a carpet or rug.

Don't Share Outlets

It may seem convenient to plug a space heater into a shared outlet, but this creates a fire hazard. A space heater uses a significant amount of energy, which may cause your shared power strip to overheat. This may simply cause other connected devices to shut down, but it can also cause sparks, flames, or even an explosion. Choose a dedicated outlet for your space heater, and avoid plugging anything else into it at the same time, even if your heater isn't running at the moment.

Check for Damage Before Each Use

Examine your space heater before you plug it into an outlet, even if it worked fine last time you used it. You may notice loose parts, frayed wires, or other potentially dangerous concerns. You may also find dents worrisome, as the parts inside may have been jostled out of place when the unit was bumped or dropped. If anything seems out of place, hold off on using the space heater until you can have an expert look at it.

Contact a Heating Contractor If You're Still Cold

A space heater is meant to complement your existing HVAC system, not replace it. Some budget-minded people attempt to heat their entire homes with space heaters, but this isn't safe or practical. If funds are tight, keep in mind that many HVAC companies offer convenient financing options for customers. Talk to a team of HVAC contractors about your situation to find out how you can stay warm all year long, even without your space heater.