October 11, 2005

Space Heater Safety

Used properly, portable space heaters can be a cost-effective way to warm up cool spots throughout homes. Kaukauna Utilities is reminding its customers to exercise caution when using space heaters in order to avoid potentially hazardous situations.

Among the space heaters on the market today, electric models are the most economical and safest option. Newer models are cool to the touch and automatically shut themselves off if they are accidentally knocked over.

Still, the following guidelines will help keep you and your family cozy while reducing the probability of an accident occurring:

  • Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets. Use of extension cords may lead to a circuit overload and cause a fire.
  • Keep space heaters away from drapery, furniture, bedspreads, newspapers and other flammable objects. A good rule of thumb is to keep portable heaters at least three feet from anything flammable.
  • Do not leave space heaters unattended.
  • Never run heater cords (or any other electrical cord) under carpet or furniture, and check cords for fraying.
  • Buy a heater with a protective grill or screen that covers the heating element.
  • Do not drape wet mittens or other clothing over heaters.
  • Never touch an electric heater if any part of your body is wet.
  • Keep heaters away from sinks, tubs and other damp areas to avoid being shocked.
  • Unplug the heater when it is not in use.
  • Never use a stove or oven as a heat source.

If you are only using a room or two in your house, you may be able to save on heating costs by turning down the thermostat and using portable heaters to warm the occupied areas. If your furnace doesn’t adequately heat certain rooms — such as an upstairs bedroom or a basement workshop — an electric space heater can help solve the problem.Space heaters can also be used to provide additional warmth to a specific room — such as a nursery — without having to turn up the thermostat for the entire house.

By following these safety guidelines, portable electric heaters can be energy efficient while making your home more comfortable for you and your family during the cold winter months.