The Heat is On: Mind These Tips for Safe Space Heater Use
While winter has been mild thus far, many will reach for space heaters for a bit of extra warmth once cooler weather takes hold. But, according to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters account for one-third of home heating fires and four out of five home heating deaths.
So, it’s important to keep safety top of mind. That’s why Georgia Tech’s Fire Safety Office has provided guidelines for selecting space heaters and for their safe placement and usage.
A space heater should:
- Be made of ceramic-type material.
- Have an individual, built-in thermostat.
- Automatically shut off if the airflow becomes blocked.
- Shut off automatically if the heater tips over.
- Be approved by a testing laboratory, such as UL.
Also, when using a space heater, follow these guidelines:
- Place the heater on a flat, level surface.
- Avoid using the heater in wet or moist areas, such as bathrooms, unless it is specified for that purpose.
- Plug the heater directly into a wall receptacle without using an extension cord.
- Ensure the cord fits snugly into the socket, and unplug it if it feels hot near the outlet.
- Keep a minimum distance of 3 feet between all sides of the heater and combustible materials such as furniture, paper, boxes, trashcans, clothes, and fabric-covered furniture.
- Maintain airflow behind and around the unit.
- Turn off the heater each time you leave.
Georgia Tech’s Fire Safety Office also provides on-site space heater inspections on a building-by-building basis. To have your space heater inspected or to arrange a building/group inspection, email email@example.com, or call 404-894-FIRE (3473).