Space Heater Safety: 5 Do’s and Don’ts

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Follow these guidelines to relax by your warm and comfortable space heater.

From chilly offices to exposed warehouses, space heaters are used to keep all kinds of areas cozy. They’re compact but also powerful enough to warm wherever they go.

Space heaters come in a few different styles to fit where you need them. Some are on wheels and shaped like a home’s classic radiator, such as this oil-filled radiator space heater by NewAir. Others are shaped like a dish and are light enough to carry from one place to another, such as the Optimus H-4438 Oscillating heater. Space heaters are also specialized for certain parts of your home, such as a garage space heater.

All types of space heaters get the job done, but have slightly different safety guidelines. If you’re new to a certain style of space heater, always read your product manual.

Since space heaters are designed to get exceptionally hot, follow our list of do’s and don’ts to enjoy them safely.

Space Heater Do’s:

1. Place your space heater on a steady surface where people will not run into it. If you have a dish space heater and it is nudged enough to tip over, most products will sound an alarm until you prop it back up. A space heater on wheels should also be placed in a location where it won’t be knocked over or roll away.

2. Keep any space heater at least three feet away from objects in the room. If you have a dish space heater, aim it into empty space so that the heat is not directed onto any furniture. You can also turn your ceiling fan on low to help circulate the heat.

3. Allow pets and children to enjoy the space heater on a low setting while supervised. Teach your children not to touch the space heater’s grills or change the temperature. If you have energetic pets, a good place for a dish space heater could be off the floor and on a hard surface such as a coffee table. Just be sure no one will knock it off the elevated surface.

4. Clean your space heater frequently, especially at the start and end of each winter. Since space heaters are often placed on the floor, they tend to collect dust, dander, and hair easily. If you let the dust collect for too long, it will start to burn and you will notice a smell. This quickly becomes a fire hazard. When you clean it, be sure the appliance is off, unplugged, and completely cooled down.

5. Turn your space heater off when you go to bed. It is recommended to not leave the space heater unsupervised, the same as you would not leave a fire unsupervised. If an object such as a piece of paper were to land on the space heater, you could wake up to an emergency, so turn it off before falling asleep.

Space Heater Don’ts:

1. Don’t place your space heater on a shaggy rug or long pile carpet. This material heats up quickly and is easily flammable. Short pile carpets and hardwood floors are safe.

2. Don’t allow the grill of the space heater to touch any of your furniture. Make sure your space heater has room around it, so that items such as tables and couches don’t heat up. Also, don’t allow any blankets or other coverings to fall onto the space heater because the grills can quickly burn through fabric materials.

3. Don’t leave your children unsupervised around the space heater. Children and animals may touch the space heater and hurt themselves or believe it is a toy and try to play with it.

4. Don’t wet the space heater. Be sure your hands are dry when handling it and keep it away from any damp areas. Touching it when your hands are wet could cause a burn and may damage the appliance. If it’s submerged in water, it could shock you.

5. Don’t use an extension cord. The space heater should not extend very far away from the outlet so that there is minimal risk of someone tripping and knocking the appliance over. It is very important that you keep the space heater on a flat surface with a slack cord rather than far away with a taut cord.

For help finding the right space heater for your home, office, or garage, check out our space heater selection. We carry many varieties by reliable brands to keep you warm all winter long.

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