Many of us are doing what ever we can to stay warm during this blast of arctic air.
Space heaters can be a convenient way to keep warm but they can also be very dangerous.
According to the Sate Fire Marshal’s Office one out of every 27 space heater fires causes a fatality. While many of us use them there are some important precautions to take to prevent a fire.
“You want to make sure you’re not keeping the heater too close to materials, couches, walls. You want to make sure there is enough air circulation around them and they’re not on shelves and their supported properly underneath.” Bob Parent, Rocky’s Ace Hardware in Agawam
You should keep your space heater at least 3 feet away from anything that could catch fire. Never leave a space heater unattended or on while you sleep. Try and plug it directly into the wall and only use a heavy duty extension cord with the proper power rating.
When buying and installing a small space heater, follow these guidelines:
- Only purchase newer model heaters that have all of the current safety features. Make sure the heater carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
- Choose a thermostatically controlled heater, because they avoid the energy waste of overheating a room.
- Select a heater of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase oversized heaters. Most heaters come with a general sizing table.
- Locate the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep children and pets away from the heater.
When buying and installing an electric space heater, you should follow these general safety guidelines:
- Electric heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet. If an extension cord is necessary, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger. Always check and follow any manufacturer’s instructions pertaining to the use of extension cords.
- Buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if the unit is tipped over.
The sale and use of kerosene heaters is illegal in Massachusetts.