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Are You Using Your Heater Safely

Are You Using Your Heater Safely
 

Although most of winter has passed us by, there are still some cold days ahead. You may need a space heater to warm an unheated area, provide a stop-gap while the furnace waits for repair, or simply add a little more heat in a drafty home. These small units meet a specific need. They also have a few drawbacks which should demand your attention and monitoring for safe use. Here are a few tips to remember when you turn on that heater.

Provide A Safe Barrier For Kids And PetsA space of at least three feet around the space heater will protect your children and pets from burns. It also will prevent tipping, which can cause a fire or heat damage. Even if the fire doesn’t ignite, carpets and hardwood will scorch.

Keep Houseold Items AwayDon’t set your heater near your furniture, drapes, or other household items. Again, a three-foot perimeter will help prevent mishaps. Those drapes may not be near the heater now, but when the cat goes through like a whirlwind, and the drapes flutter, can they catch on the space heater? Be very intentional in placement. Look at the area. Consider anything which moves. Your three-year-old may throw the pillow on the floor when she climbs up onto the couch. If it can land near the space heater, place it elsewhere for now.

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Do Not Use Extension CordsFirst, they allow the heater to be placed in the middle of a room, where the risk of tripping over the heater or cord is much higher. Second, most extension cords are too lightweight for the wattage pulled by these appliances, and will overheat. Third, every set of connections adds another source of risk. If the plug isn’t snug, don’t use it. A loose plug allows arcing between the two surfaces. This adds to the amperage pull, but it also generates heat. Where there is heat, there can be fire. For many reasons, extension cords and space heaters are not a safe combination. Just don’t use them. Plug the heater directly into a tight-fitting wall outlet.

Check Your Fire And Smoke Alarms MonthlyReplace batteries at least twice a year. Many people do this when the time changes in spring and fall, but pick something that works for you. Use technology to your advantage, and set reminders in your phone calendar to check the alarms and replace batteries when needed. Also, even with good alarms, turn off the heaters when you leave home or go to bed.

Purchase The Best heater That You Can AffordToday, there are many types of space heaters available with great safety features. Consider an infrared heater. These heaters are cool to the touch and present no burn hazard. They also turn off if tipped or moved. If any of the internal infrared elements malfunction, the unit shuts off. One of the safest options, these heaters cost about two dollars per day to operate. The cost to purchase them has also dropped tremendously over the last few years, making them very affordable options.

Staying warm is important. Staying safe is even more important. With careful attention, you can do both.