5 Space Heater Safety Tips to Help Protect Your Home
Space heaters are a great, relatively inexpensive supplement to heat small rooms and areas. However, they can also be a fire hazard—if not properly cared for. That’s why the pros at ComfortAire Heating Cooling are sharing some of our best space heater safety tips for you to use.
Are Space Heaters That Dangerous?
When used properly, no. However, according to a 2021 report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “Space heaters were most often responsible for the home heating equipment fires, accounting for more than two in five fires, as well as the vast majority of deaths and injuries in home fires caused by heating equipment.”
On top of that, the NFPA reports space heaters—electrical ones in particular—as the cause of more than half of property damage from home heating fires. And while those numbers have been on a decline thanks to safer models and general awareness, we encourage you to follow these practical space heater safety tips at all times.
Our Best Space Heater Safety Tips
Keep It on the Floor
This may seem obvious but be sure to position your space heater on a flat, level surface—and not on a rug. Any time you put a space heater on a higher surface like a shelf, it’s more prone to falling or being knocked over. And as tempting as it may be to place the heater close to you, never put it on the carpet or near the bed. If you do move the unit, turn it off completely and let it cool down before relocating it.
Use the Three-Foot Rule
Clothes, paper, bedding, furniture, walls—these are just some everyday objects that could easily catch fire if too close to a space heater. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away. The same three-foot rule is true for other home heating equipment, like furnaces. And keep kids and pets at a safe distance too, in order to prevent injuries or burns.
If You Leave a Room, Turn It Off
The worst accidents with space heaters often happen when no one is looking. A pet could knock your space heater over, something could fall off the shelf or the bed, a nearby object could get too hot, or a curious child could be shocked or burned. Don’t take that risk—shut off your space heater if you plan to leave it unattended.
Be Smart at Bedtime
You’ll find varying opinions as to whether you should leave a space heater on at night. The safest thing to do is to turn it off and throw on an extra blanket for warmth. But if you insist on using a space heater, look for units with additional safety features like tip-over protection, a built-in timer, and adjustable temperatures. No matter what, always follow the system’s manufacturer guidelines.
The Bottom Line on Space Heater Safety
For safety and peace of mind, be as conservative as possible when using space heaters. Go the extra mile and test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as an extra layer of protection.