Whether your furnace breaks down this time of year or you’re merely in need of some supplemental heat for some part of your home, the shapes and sizes and styles of space heaters these days are nearly endless. And while space heaters can be amazing sources of comfort and warmth, you should know they can come with a hefty price tag if not used properly. They can be dangerous, damaging, and downright deadly. To raise space heater awareness, we at Lewis Center-Powell Heating and Air assembled the following directions to help ensure safety in your home this winter and beyond.
GIVE THEM PLENTY OF SPACE
Ensure your space heaters have plenty of space. A general rule of thumb is three feet. That’s three feet away from anything flammable, or any beds, mattresses, furniture, sofas, papers, boxes, curtains, toys, etc., etc. You’ll want to particularly watch the rear and sides also.
DOUBLE CHECK YOUR CORDS
Make sure that your space heater’s cord is not coming undone and that it’s 100 percent solid and intact. Do not use any space heaters that have frayed cords or wires revealed. If a copper wire is showing, do not try to fix it with electrical tape. It’s best to purchase a new heater.
MAKE SURE IT’S SNUG AND DIRECTLY PLUGGED
Make sure your space heater is securely plugged straight into a power outlet that grips it tightly in place. Be sure it is not wobbly, or that the plug tends to slide out. On top of that, avoid utilizing any extension cords or power strips or other adaptors. Remember, your cord should have its own outlet without any other plugs in it.
MAKE SURE YOUR HEATER STAYS STABLE
Guarantee your heater is on a strong, even, flat surface where it won’t get bumped over or tripped on easily. This means desks, tables, countertops, and chairs are prohibited. Space heaters are best on a bare floor void of loose boards in a spot that is out of the way of traffic. Do not attempt to elevate them.
Double-check to make sure your space heater has been officially certified as being safe. For this, you might look at the back of the device for a safety emblem. If your space heater has been worked on, altered, and it’s not in its factory condition, it’s probably not safe to use. It’s always a good idea to purchase space heaters new. They can be very affordable.
Check the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector to be certain they work function in case of an emergency. Remember, space heaters can be a fire hazard.
SHUT IF OFF IF UNATTENDED
Make sure you turn off your space heater when it’s time for bed. The same goes if you leave the room it’s operating in, or especially the house. Whenever it’s in use, you want to be able to check on it in case something goes wrong.
REVIEW SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS WITH EVERYONE
You must review these and any other space heater safety instructions with everyone who is in your home. Make sure everyone is aware of how it operates, how to turn it off and on, and what to keep an eye out to prevent any mishaps. As a rule, it’s a smart idea to make sure your children understand your space heater is off-limits. Unless they are at an age you feel comfortable with, and they too have been educated, they should not touch your space heaters.
GET THE CORRECT TYPE OF FUEL
Now, this point is a unique one. If your space heater demands fuel to run it, make certain the fuel you possess is the appropriate type. If there’s any doubt, don’t use it. Using the wrong kind of fuel can cause a fire or ruin your unit. Also, if using fuel, research the safety precautions you need to take for that particular unit and follow by them closely, without compromise. For example, the majority of fuel-burning space heaters require proper ventilation. A lot of them aren’t designed for residential use in homes. Make sure you know all the safety standards and rules of your fuel-burning space heater before you try using it.
DON’T LET IT GET TOO HOT
Do not operate a space heater if it becomes too hot to touch. If this happens, time to shut it off. This goes for the cord also. If it gets too hot, unplug the device and don’t use it. These are good signs that something is awry. At this point, you can call an electrician, or you might use a different heater that doesn’t overheat.
KEEP YOUR UNIT AWAY FROM WATER
Utilize your space heater far away from the shower, bathtub, sink, or any other water source. If you are wet, dry yourself off before even messing with it. Anyone slightly familiar with electricity knows — water is dangerous. It’s a common conductor of electricity. You could be jolted. Or worse.
DON’T COVER THE CORD UP
Do not attempt to hide the cord for your space heater with your carpet, throw rugs, furniture, or anything else for that matter. Make sure it stays in plain sight and left alone.
FIND THE RIGHT SIZE OF HEATER
Make sure the space heater you are using is suitable for the size of the room you are putting it in. Don’t use one intended for large spaces in a small room. Don’t utilize a small room heater in a larger room by having it running longer. A number of things could go wrong.
For more information, or to schedule a tune-up, call Lewis Center-Powell Heating & Air today at 614-490-7530 or schedule an appointment online now at www.lewiscenterpowellheatingandair.com/schedule-now/. Thank you, and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New year!