Baby, It’s Cold Outside…so turn on the space heater. All I Want For Christmas…is a space heater that won’t burn down my house. These are our favorite holiday songs. Jokes aside, as the temperature continues to drop, many people will start to use space heaters to warm their homes and offices. Before you plug in your heater, we have some friendly advice and reminders to keep you and your loved ones safe.
TheUmatilla County Fire department in Oregon recently posted a photo of a burnt and melted power strip with this warning on its Facebook page: “The weather is getting colder, and people are pulling out their space heaters. We just wanted to remind you that you should NEVER plug a heater into a power strip. These units are not designed to handle the high current flow needed for a space heater and can overheat or even catch fire due to the added energy flow. Please share and stay safe this Winter season.”
Unfortunately, people often confuser power strips and surge protectors, which is a problem because power strips can’t handle the high-volume power demands of a space heater. This also applies to extension cords, which can melt and catch fire. Before you plug in that space heater (or Christmas decorations!), check the user manual.
The US Department of Energy offers a list of safety guidelines for space heater use. Here’s what they recommend:
- Only purchase newer model space heaters, since they have the most current safety features. Also look for the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label, as this means the heater has gone through some pretty rigorous safety testing.
- Choose a heater that allows you to adjust its temperature, so you’re not overheating a room or the heater.
- Choose a space heater that’s an appropriate size for the room where you plan to use it. Bigger isn’t better in this case, and big space heaters in small spaces are at risk for overheating.
- Put your heaters on hard, level surfaces that are out of the way, so they aren’t a tripping hazard. And don’t ever put them where kids or pets can get to them. Keeping the house warm for kids is good, but so is protecting little hands from the burns they could get if they get a hold of a space heater.
Stay safe and stay warm! Let us know if you have any questions.
Bonus Tip: to find out if your space heater has been recalled or has other safety issues, sign up for Bonnie here!