Space heaters and other similar equipment can be quick and easy ways to heat up a room or area in your home during these cold winter months. Though warmth and comfort are certainly priorities, safety must be number one. Here are a few reminders from the Denton Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association to help keep you both warm AND safe this winter:
- Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use an extension cord with a space heater
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Opt for quality. When shopping for a space heater, select a unit that has all the latest safety features and the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label of approval. Look for cool-to-the-touch housings and automatic shut-off features that turn the unit off if it’s tipped over or overheating. Some units will automatically shut off if their infrared sensors detect a person or object that is too close to the heater panel, which makes them desirable choices for households with kids or pets.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Space heaters use a lot of electricity — as much as fifteen 100-watt light bulbs. This can be too much for older houses with old wires and electrical circuits. When wires get overheated, fires can also start inside the walls where they are hard to spot. If the circuit breaker trips, don’t plug it back in.
- Check your heaters regularly. look for frayed wires and remove dust accumulation on grates, grills, coils and other elements of the heater.
- Don’t rely on space heaters to heat your home. They’re designed to supplement a central heating strategy – not replace it. Make sure every room in which you plan to use a space heater has a working smoke alarm and that your house has a carbon monoxide alarm.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
To learn more about fire causes, risks, safety prevention, and more, visit www.nfpa.org/Public-Education.