Heaters are excellent additions to your home for the cold winter months, but despite looking like an uncomplicated device, there are certain precautions you must take to use it safely and effectively.
It might come as a surprise, but a considerable number of home fires originate from space heaters. The little things consume less energy than turning on the entire heating system and work better for a single room, but they are still energy hungry and if badly placed, can lead to serious fire hazards.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. – Mark Twain
Keep them away from fabric
Just like you would keep candles away from curtains and carpets, you should do the same for heaters. On a short-term scenario it’s very unlikely a heater would set something on fire, but why risk it when it’s so easy to place it elsewhere?
The thing is, it’s not the heat itself that can start a fire (although that is totally possible), it’s more in case of a short circuit or malfunction that produces sparks – those can easily ignite fabric. But a heater left for too long pointed at fabric can also be dangerous, so it’s better to always be safe.
Always keep it at ground level
Because of outlet placement or too keep it out of the way you might feel tempted to place your heater on top of furniture. That’s not a good idea: heaters are very light, so they can easily fall and get damaged from a slight push.
Imagine if your heater falls face down on the carpet when you’re not in the room and stays there for a long time – you would only notice something wrong after smelling something burning. And while you could avoid a dramatic outcome like a fire, your rug or carpet would still be burned.
Always place your heater on the ground to prevent this!
However – and this is very important – don’t place it over a rug or carpet. For the same reason as described above, excessive heat creates a potential fire hazard, and when you combine that with the risk of short circuits… you don’t want any fabric around.
So do keep your heater at ground level, but also not on top of carpets or rugs.
Avoid extension cords or sharing outlets
Just because they save energy when compared to an HVAC system, it doesn’t mean they aren’t energy hungry. Heaters demand a high amount of power and using an extension cord can lead the wire to heat up and short circuit, which is dangerous to your family.
Same goes for sharing outlets with other devices – it might seem convenient, but as said before, this thing is energy hungry. Too much current on the outlet can cause it to explode, potentially damaging the outlet and all devices connected to it.
Always plug the heater directly on the outlet.
Be careful when taking a shower
Some heaters are made specifically for humid environments, but most heaters you can purchase are not. If you really want to get that extra heat in the bathroom when taking a shower during the winter, it’s better to heat up the bathroom before the shower. When the room is warm enough, remove the heater and then start the shower.
Heaters don’t deal well with moist environments, since it can damage their inner workings, but most importantly, it’s not ideal to have an electronic device near so much water – especially when the shower itself is already demanding a lot of energy. Combine that with your heater, and you could blow a fuse with the amount of energy being used at once.
If you do encounter such an issue, refrain from dealing with electrical wiring yourself as it could be dangerous – call a professional instead!
Don’t leave it on for extended periods of time
For many of the same reasons we’ve been outlining so far, leaving your heater on for too long can lead to problems. For example, you might be tempted to leave it on overnight, but that’s ill-advised at best – the device can overheat or end up toppling over during the night, which you won’t be able to notice until something bad is already happening.
Just like when taking a shower, it’s way better to heat up your room in advance and turn the heater off once you’re under the covers.
Want to prepare your home for the winter? Call a heating professional from your area and get free quotes today!