Everyone deals with uneven heating in their home or business. Portable heaters have received a bad reputation as fire hazards. In most cases, though, the fires resulted from failure to follow instructions and common sense. Today’s space heaters are safer and more high-tech than ever. Not to mention the increased efficiency from just a few years ago.
Yes men, you must first read the instructions. Again, space heaters can be operated safely, without any concern for fire, if they are used properly.
Counter tops are not a safe place for most space heaters, unless of course, they are specifically designed for counter tops. Those not designed for counter tops can be a bit unstable and easily be knocked over, or have the cord tripped on.
Always place space heaters AT LEAST 3-feet away from any combustible material: curtains, couches, blankets, etc.
Never use an extension cord with a space heater. If the cord is not long enough to reach—then it is not a good place for the space heater to be located. Most space heaters now come with a cord long enough to reach, but keep in mind that the cords are designed at that length for a reason.
Ensure that the heater you purchase has one of two features:
- Has an automatic tip-over switch. This safety switch disengages relay for heating elements (turns heaters off). Therefore, if unit tips over onto carpet or other combustible material, unit will automatically shut down and thus prevent a fire.
- Is a ceramic pod-type heater that can be used either horizontally or vertically. Ceramic heaters are also safer because of their resistance to flammable chemicals.
There are several space-heater manufactures that come with removable thermostats; giving you the flexibility to control the temperature from a safe distance.
Oil-filled space heaters are quickly becoming the most popular—for good reason. They are safe, stable and use coated heating elements to heat the oil inside the space heater, similar to a hydronic baseboard heater. They also keep the air more humid; this is very important in dry climates such as Arizona and Colorado. Finally, these heaters heat the oil which maintains some of the heat after the thermostat has shut down the heating elements, thus the residual heat continues to heat the room.
Please remember, space heaters can be an effective means of heating only specific areas within your home or business, but they can be potentially dangerous as well. Always follow ALL safety guidelines to ensure the safety of your patrons or family.
Be safe, be warm, purchase wisely!