February 5, 2020

With the cost and hassle of replacing central heat, a lot of people are investing in space heaters. They can lower your energy bills by adding direct warmth to the rooms you use most.

While these portable heaters can be both efficient and economical, there are a few things you need to keep in mind, according to a Sylvane.com article:

Space Heater Placement 

It’s generally suggested that space heaters be placed at least 3 feet away from furniture, window treatments, bedding, clothing, rugs, and other combustibles.

These items can cause a risk of fire if they come in contact with a unit’s electric heating element or too-hot surface.

Other Placement Tips

  • Never sit or drape anything on top of a portable heater.
  • In addition, be sure that the heater is placed on a hard, level surface.
  • Review your owner’s manual for specific instructions on your heater.

    Safety Tips

    1. Look for Safety Features

    Today’s portable heater models include a variety of safety features that help take a lot of the worry out of using them: 

    Overheat Protection

    Room heaters with overheat protection detect when internal components become too hot. When an unsafe temperature is detected, the switch automatically shuts off the unit to prevent overheating.

    See heaters with overheat protection. 

    Tip-Over Protection

    A heater equipped with a tip-over protection switch will automatically shut off if it’s tipped over for any reason.

    See heaters with tip-over protection. 

    Cool-Touch Housing

    Cool-touch housing prevents accidental burns by touching the exterior of a heater. This is particularly useful safety features, particularly in areas with active children or pets.

    2. Plug Directly into an Outlet

    As a rule of thumb, plug a portable electric heater directly into an outlet with sufficient power capacity. Attaching an extension cord to the unit increases the chance of overheating, fires, and electrical shock injuries.

    3. Regular Inspection and Maintenance

    Occasionally inspect your space heater, particularly when you first purchase it. Frequently clean and maintain it to ensure it’s working safely.

    Wiping yours down will also help reduce the amount of dust and allergens that may be dispersed around your space. 

    4. Shut Off and Unplug if Not in Use

    Upon leaving an area, turn off the portable space heater and unplug it. Many models, like Vornado heaters, feature programmable timers that can be used to program automatic on and off times for when you sleep or head to work.

    5. Keep Heaters Away From Water

    Unless it is specifically designed for use in damp spaces, refrain from running a heater in a bathroom or a humid basement. Don’t touch the heater if you are wet or have wet hands, as this increases the risk of electrical shock.

    Heaters Designed for Use in Wet Areas

    Select heaters feature GFCI (ACLI) plugs that makes them safe for use in bathrooms. Check out the How to Select a Bathroom Heater article, and see our selection of bathroom-friendly space heaters.

    Educating yourself about the safety hazards that come with the improper use of portable heaters will help you achieve better peace of mind as you keep your home warm, comfortable, and fire hazard-free this winter.