SPACE HEATER SAFETY:
Space heaters have been to blame for many fires, because they are not being used properly or they are old and don’t meet the latest safety standards. So you want to follow the guidelines on heaters. Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have the most up-to-date safety features. Older space heaters may not meet newer safety standards. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use. Place the heater on a level, hard, nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor. Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Turn the heater off if you leave the area .Don’t leave a space heater on when you go to sleep and don’t place the heater close to any sleeping person. Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater, as even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of fire. Don’t use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space unless they are specifically designed for indoor use. Also, be sure to place smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside of sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. Guard against carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings as well by installing carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Make sure that your batteries in all alarms are fresh and working.
Portable Heater Safety:
With the cost of heating continually on the rise, many homeowners are investing in portable heaters to help lower their energy bills. But while portable heaters can be both efficient and economical, they also introduce a number of important safety concerns that we cannot afford to overlook. While you can achieve substantial energy cost-savings by running a portable heater in frequently used rooms throughout the day and limiting your use of a central heating system, this activity increases the risk of dangerous indoor pollutants, fires, and burn injuries. Home and fire safety experts agree that you need to build awareness of safe practices when using these appliances. Select the right size heater for the right size space. When you purchase a portable heater, be sure to buy one that is rated for the approximate square-footage of the room or space you plan to use it in. An electric space heater that is too large for a certain area will consume lots of energy and lead to higher utility bills. Buying a portable gas or electric heater rated for a small space and expecting it to cover a large area increases the risk that the unit will overheat. It will have to work harder to heat the space. Opt for heaters with tip-over and overheat protection. Today’s portable heater models include a variety of safety features that help take some of the worry out of operation. A heater equipped with a tip-over switch will automatically shut off if it is tipped over accidentally. Portable heaters with overheat protection switches function in nearly the same manner. This switch acts as a temperature sensor, detecting when a heater’s internal components become too hot. When an unsafe temperature is detected, the switch automatically shuts off the unit to prevent overheating. Use portable gas heaters only with proper ventilation. Portable gas heaters should only be used in areas with ample ventilation. These units, which heat by burning kerosene, natural gas, butane, or propane, can produce dangerous and unhealthy amounts of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and water vapor if not vented properly. Vented units are designed to be placed next to an outside wall, with a flue gas vent installed to exhaust gaseous fumes outside. You should generally avoid using unvented portable gas heaters indoors. Give heaters their space, position a portable space heater at least 3 ft. away from furniture, window treatments, bedding, clothing, rugs, and other combustibles. These items could easily catch fire if they come into contact with a unit’s electric heating element, open flame, or too-hot surface. 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 that is non-flammable .Plug the heater 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. If an extension cord must be attached, use one that is properly rated and sized for the portable heater Inspect and clean the heater regularly. Both portable gas and electric heaters should be inspected on an annual basis and cleaned frequently to ensure that they are in safe working condition. Seek out a qualified worker to perform any repairs. Never use a defective heater. Shut off and unplug the heater when leaving it unattended. Upon leaving an area, turn off the portable space heater and unplug it. Do this when you go to sleep as well, but make sure you have an adequate and safe heating alternative if need be. Many heaters feature programmable timers that can be used to program automatic on and off times. 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.