Space heater safety tips by electrician

7 Life-Saving Space Heather Safety Tips

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​Space Heater Safety Tips

Every winter, thousands of families experience a home fire because of incorrect space heater use. Very sadly, some people even die in these fires. So, please – before you plug in the space heater and turn it up full blast, read these tips and use yours safely. That way, you can stay warm and safe at the same time. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Root Electric at (703) 494-3989.

1. Check the Label for Independent Certification:

Before you buy a space heater, make sure to look carefully at the labels and packaging to see that the space heater has been safety certified by an independent testing body. For example, the UL, ETL or CSA are international testing organizations that are independent of the manufacturers. This type of testing and certification ensures that you don’t have to rely on the manufacturer to tell you their space heater has been tested for safety—independent testers have done this.

2. Follow Safety Precautions on the Label

First of all, don’t buy too small of a heater to heat a large room, and don’t get a huge heater for a small room. Buy one that fits the space you need to heat. Also, be aware that there are hundreds of different kind of space heaters—some use electricity, some use natural gas or propane. You’ll need to take specific safety precautions for each of these types of power. For example, never use an electric space heater in a damp room like a bathroom. For a gas or propane heater, if you smell gas, turn off the controls, open a window and leave the room. Don’t flip on any switches or light any matches.

3. Use Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Regardless of whether you use space heaters or not, make sure your smoke detectors, fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are fully functional. Have them tested periodically, especially during the winter.


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4. Look for Automatic Shut-Off Features

Newer models of space heaters have automatic shut-off features that will cut the power to the space heater if it tips over, senses moisture or that it’s overheating. And if you ever smell or see smoke or the lights flicker when you turn on the heater, turn it off and contact Root Electric for assistance.

5. Where to Put the Space Heater

Space-heater placement is also essential for safety. Make sure that you place your space heater on a level, hard, non-flammable floor, not a table or counter. Keep them well away from furniture, rugs, bedding and curtains (at least 3 feet). Don’t use space heaters in areas where you are using paint or flammable materials (workshops and garages). Also, don’t use space heaters in children’s bedrooms and keep pets and children away at all times.

6. Unplug when Unattended

Don’t use a space heater overnight or while you’re away from home. Turn off the controls and grasp the plug and pull straight out when unplugging (don’t yank the cord). Check the cord frequently for damage and do not plug space heaters into power strips – plug them directly into the wall outlet.

7. Space Heater Controls

Keep in mind that space heaters can draw a huge amount of power. So much so that if used incorrectly, they can trip circuits and use more power than your home is wired for. So instead of running it full power, run it at half power (750 watts, usually) so it won’t burn up your home’s electrical circuits.

If you have any questions or concerns about your space heater, please don’t hesitate to contact Root Electric in Northern Virginia for assistance. We can help you pick the right space heater for your space and let you know what power settings your home can handle. Most of all, we just want you and your family to be safe! So, call us: (703) 494-3989.

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About the Author

During my tenure at Root Electric, I lead the transition of Root Electric from a primarily sub-contracting based business model to a prime-contracting based business model. Accomplishments have been made by developing a team based approach to researching and implementing a service-specific client management system.My goals for the next five years are to fine tune Root Electric's brand strategy and to diversify its scope of services, while remaining true to the discipline of electrical work.