With December officially here, it’s about to get a lot chillier in the ATL. In an attempt to save money on your heating bill, you may have decided to get some electric space heaters for your home. While they can keep your home toasty and cozy during the winter months, they also present an electric shock hazard and a fire hazard. According to the NFPA, supplemental heating is the leading cause of fires from December through February. To help you use your space heaters safely, we’ve got some quick tips.
1. Give the heater a personal space bubble.
Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from the space heater. Give the heater its own spot and don’t crowd it. If anything flammable, like fabric, furniture, or curtains, get too close to the heater, it could cause a fire. Clear a special place for the space heater.
2. Plug the space heater into the wall.
Don’t use an extension cord or power strip. Instead, plug the heater directly into the wall and don’t plug anything else into the outlet. An extension cord could overheat and cause a fire. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it’s the right one for the heater.
3. Turn the heater off when you leave a room or go to sleep.
Don’t leave a space heater on when you leave the room or go to bed. It’s not safe to leave a space heater on all night, so you shouldn’t sleep with a space heater on. Bundle up with a few extra blankets on your bed instead.
4. Choose the space heater’s location wisely.
Put the space heater in a low-traffic area of the home – the cord can quickly turn into a trip trap, so keep it out of the way so that no one gets hurt. Also, place the heater on a level surface. Don’t place it on carpet or on a table – these things can get too hot and cause a fire.
5. Keep the space heater in good repair.
If you notice any frayed cords, broken wires, or anything like that, have the unit repaired ASAP and don’t use it until you have. Frayed cords can cause electrical fires, so prevent an electrical fire at your home by keeping all appliances in good repair.
6. Supervise pets and kids around space heaters.
You don’t want any burned fingers or paws, so keep kids and pets away from the heater so no one gets hurt. Don’t forget about childproofing your home – don’t leave your kids or your pets alone with a space heater.
7. Choose an approved space heater.
Select a space heater that’s been approved by a consumer testing laboratory, such as the Underwriters Laboratories. Products that have been approved have gone through extensive safety testing.
8. Get a space heater with auto shut-off and a tip guard.
If possible, choose a space heater with auto shut-off so that you don’t accidentally leave it on. You can also get space heaters with tip guards, which will cause the heater to turn off if it falls over. Both of these features make the space heater safer to have around the house.
9. Use the space heater only for its intended purpose.
The space heater is for warming up a room in your home, not warming bedding, drying clothes, or thawing out pipes. Don’t use the heater for anything other than providing warmth for your home.
10. Put the space heater away when not in use.
When you’re not using the space heater, unplug it and stow it safely away. There’s no reason to leave it plugged in and out in the open when you’re not using it.
The winter months can get chilly, even in Atlanta. If you’re going to use some space heaters to chase away the winter chill, be sure to use them safely. Remember, whenever you’re playing around with heat, you have to be careful and take steps to protect your home from fire. Stay safe this winter, Atlanta!
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