Small as they are, space heaters are high-wattage appliances that can add serious expense to your monthly energy bill. What’s more, they can present a severe fire hazard if operated improperly. Now is the time of year when people are more likely to use space heaters in the home, and we think it’s the perfect time to remind members of some simple dos and don’ts for space heater efficiency and safety.

Space Heater Dos:

  • Always use space heaters in small areas, for limited amounts of time.
  • Regularly check space heater cords for fraying or cracking.
  • Regularly check space heaters for overheating when in use.
  • Consider replacing older space heaters with newer ones; like most devices, efficiency and safety tends to improve with new models.
  • Keep your space heater at least three feet away from combustible materials, including paper, furniture, drapes and beds.
  • Keep the heater’s cord in plain site at all times; cords tucked beneath a rug or behind furniture can overheat and become damaged.
  • If practical, set your home’s thermostat higher when using a space heater; this will help defuse the heater’s operating expense.
  • Turn the space heater off when you leave a room or go to sleep.
  • Always unplug space heaters when not in use.

Space Heater Don’ts:

  • Avoid running a space heater 24/7; doing so is costly—possibly adding more than $60 extra a month per heater. Continuous running is dangerous, too, increasing the likelihood of overheating, damage to the heater and fire.
  • Never plug a space heater in through an extension cord or power strip; this can lead to overheating and fire.
  • Never plug two space heaters into the same power outlet; this can overload your home’s electrical system, leading to serious problems, including fires.
  • Never leave a space heater running unattended; if something goes wrong you may not realize it until too late.
  • Don’t let children or pets play too close to a space heater, as they can damage the heater or hurt themselves.
  • Never allow a space heater to flip over—especially when running. Most modern space heaters include an automatic shutoff for this possibility, but it still requires immediate correction.
  • Never use a space heater with a cord that’s frayed, cracked or shows other signs of damage.


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