Fire Prevention Week – Space Heater Safety

Space Heater Safety in Puyallup, WA

If you’re someone with perpetually cold toes, setting up a space heater might be the best way to get the extra, targeted heat you need. Countless homeowners in the Puyallup, WA, area rely on space heaters when working in or relaxing in remote rooms or when their central heating systems under-perform. Although these appliances have relatively low upfront costs and often have impressive heating capabilities, using them safely is absolutely critical. Following are several ways to know whether you’re using your space heater the right way.

Do You Need a Long-Term Heating Solution?

Despite being incredibly convenient, space heaters aren’t very efficient. Running a space heater all of the time can result in major increases in your home energy costs. These units are meant for use as temporary, supplemental heating solutions. They are not made for everyday, ongoing use, and they are not meant to serve as primary home heaters.

There are several reasons why you might need a space heater in your home. For instance, you can set one of these units up if your central heating system is broken and you’re waiting for repair professionals to arrive. Conversely, if you’ve got hot and cold spots throughout your living environment, finding out why these spots exist, and then resolving the underlying problem is both safer and more cost-effective than long-term space heater use. This can include sealing up leaky air ducts and finding and eliminating indoor air drafts. Your home might need better insulation or you may need HVAC maintenance, repairs, or even a full-on heating system replacement.

If you routinely use areas of your home that aren’t serviced by your HVAC system, you can consider having a ductless heat pump installed or having your HVAC ductwork extended. Finding the right long-term heating solution will eliminate the high costs and excessively high risks of regularly using one or more space heaters.

All Space Heaters Aren’t the Same

Pulling an incredibly old space heater out of the attic or garage is risky business indeed. This same is also true of using older space heaters that you’ve purchased at garage sales, thrift stores, or from private sellers online. New, portable space heaters aren’t very costly. Moreover, even the cheapest of these units are guaranteed to have better built-in safety features than older ones. New space heaters automatically shut themselves off whenever they overheat or get tipped over. Some will even automatically enter into standby mode to prevent problems caused by being left unattended. New space heaters don’t heat up at their exterior, they’re less likely to have electrical issues, and they can also be much more energy-efficient.

Space Heater Safety Starts With the Right Set-Up

Whether old or new, the average space heater has a relatively modest-sized cord. You might be tempted to use an extension cord or two to bring your space heater right up close. This is the wrong way to set a space heater up. These units should only ever be plugged directly into outlets and always by themselves. All other fixtures, appliances, or electronics should be moved to other outlets. You should also make sure to give your space heater no less than three feet of clearance at the front, back, and sides.

Keep Tabs on Who’s in the Room

It’s always best to use space heaters in rooms that don’t have a lot of pets or people in them. This limits the risk of having these units getting knocked over. If the exterior of a space heater grows hot, it can also limit the risk of serious burns. Try to avoid using space heaters whenever small children are around. Having items fall onto or into space heaters can be just as much of a fire risk as having them tip over. Not only is there the risk of having kids get burned by older space heaters that actually grow hot during use, but small children may be tempted to put items inside of their covers or grills while they’re in operation.

Don’t Leave Your Space Heater on Unless You’re Present

If you plug a space heater in and turn it on, you’re in charge. Don’t leave a space heater alone in the room while it’s still plugged in and still actively producing heat. If something goes wrong after you’ve left the space, you won’t be able to use preventative strategies to limit the risk of fire or to quickly respond to a fire after it’s broken out.

Puyallup Heating & Air Conditioning has been a trusted provider of heating and cooling services throughout the greater King County and Pierce County areas for more than 70 years. We additionally offer air purifiers, tankless water heaters, and an expansive range of heating and cooling products. If you live in Puyallup and are looking to limit your reliance on space heaters, we can help. Call us today to schedule a service visit.