Space heaters can cause fires and electric shocks if you don’t handle them properly. These fires can lead to injuries, property damage, and even deaths. Space heaters provide a convenient source of heat but come with risks. Therefore, there are precautions that owners should keep in mind when using heating equipment. According to they suggests that more than 60,000 fires are caused by heating equipment each year.
Modern space heaters come with features that may help reduce the risks. Therefore, you should ensure that you choose a space heater that has adequate safety features. Safety should be a priority when buying and using a space heater. The following are the safety tips that you should always put in mind when using a space heater.
Selecting a space heater
There are many types of space heaters in the market. Each of them comes with different risks. For instance, natural gas heaters are more vulnerable to fires as compared to electric ones.
• Ensure that you purchase space heaters that have been approved by a national testing laboratory such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Underwriters Laboratories (UL). It ensures that the unit’s performance and construction meet the required safety standards.
• You should also check out several safety features. It should have an overheating feature that will shut off the unit when it detects that it’s producing excess heat. It should have a Tip-over switch that will switch off the heater if it’s knocked over. Other features include low oxygen depletion sensor and touch sensor.
Setup and Use
• You should set up the heater away from any combustible materials. Also avoid putting them on raised surfaces, unless they are designed otherwise. Also, avoid putting them on flammable surfaces like carpets and rugs. Don’t cover the unit’s cord with furniture or carpets since they can overheat and start fires. Do not use space heaters to dry wet clothes.
• Ensure that you leave doors and windows open for fresh air circulation when using gas heaters. Gas heaters can cause suffocation due to the buildup of Carbon Monoxide or oxygen depletion. Using gas-fired space heaters in lowly ventilated spaces is dangerous.
• Don’t switch on natural gas heaters if you smell gas. Open windows and doors and leave the area immediately. Don’t turn on electrical equipment or switches if you smell gas. Also, don’t light a cigarette. Gases like propane require a spark to ignite. Don’t refill gas heaters while they are running. Also, don’t overfill the heater when refueling it. Cold kerosene can expand when they warm up, causing fires. Use approved safety cans to store flammable liquids such as kerosene. Ensure that you use the right fuel for the heater.
• Keep electric heaters away from wet areas such as bathrooms because water can conduct electricity. Also, avoid touching the heater with wet hands since it can increase the risk of shocks.
• Keep space heaters away from places that have high traffic like doorways. Also, install smoke sensors in your home and ensure that they work correctly. Never use heaters for cooking food, warming bedding, or any other purpose apart from supplementing heat in your house.
• Plug the unit directly into an outlet directly. Using an extension can lead to overheating, electrical shock, and fire. Use a quality extension if you have to use one. Always ensure that you plug the heater to an outlet that has sufficient power capacity.
• Unplug and shut off the heater if you are not using it. Some heaters have programmable timers that can switch off the system when you are away. It’s good to use the heater when you are around. Ensure that you keep young kids away from heaters.
Inspection and Maintenance
Ensure that you regularly call a technician to inspect and maintain your heater. Clean the heater regularly to reduce the amount of dust that the unit can disperse around the room. Ensure that you don’t use a defective heater. Check if the heater has any loose connections or broken plugs before you switch it on.
Ensure that you read the manufacturer’s instructions before you start using the heater. Since fire is the main threat, you should install smoke detectors in your house. It will alert you and your family to get out safely in case of fire. Also, ensure that carbon monoxide detectors work properly to prevent suffocation.