Space Heater Safety

Brrrr, it’s cold out there! In efforts to stay warm many of us are cozying up to space heater and other heat sources that if used improperly could present a potential hazard. “In 2011 alone, around 18,000 fires involved stationary or portable space heaters, killing over 300 people, and injuring over 1,100 more, according to National Fire Prevention Association.” If used improperly or without inspection, portable heating devices can cause a fire and or injury. Take note of these tips to make sure you are using these devices safely!


  • As a general rule for all heat sources (fire places, space heaters, and stoves) make sure that your heater has at least 3 feet of clearance from anything that could potentially cause a fire. This can include clothing, papers, rugs or bedding. Make sure that small children observe this 3 foot radius as well.


  • Move heaters out of the way of foot traffic, including the cord. A misplaced heater could pose a tripping hazard, which could also damage the cord, power outlet, or heating device.


  • Do not use extension cords or power strips when plugging in your space heater. A heater plugged directly into the wall poses less threat for electrical issues than one that is powered through an extension cord.


  • A space heater should never be plugged into the same outlet as a computer.


  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn off and unplug the device when you leave the room.


  • Don’t use a heater that has frayed wires or damaged electrical components. Compromised cords and plug ins can cause fires and should not be used until repaired.


  • A plug in should never be forced into an outlet, nor should it be lose. A space heater plugged in incorrectly can cause major damage. Check to ensure that the cord is never hot when you unplug the device, this is an indication that an electrical component is not working correctly.


Stay safe and warm this winter!