Space heaters can and have caused fires. Most of these could have been prevented if the heater’s owner had followed these basic safety rules:
- Buy only Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) approved heaters.
- Avoid using extension cords with space heaters. If you must use an extension cord, make sure the wire size is heavy enough to handle the amperage requirements of your heater (you can figure this by dividing the heater wattage by 120). Never use lamp-type extension cords with a space heater.
- If the wiring or outlets in your home are old, consider a lower or variable wattage heater instead of 1,500 watt models.
- Buy heaters with safety switches that turn the heater off if it’s tipped over.
- Make sure the heater you buy has a protective grill in front of the elements (some oil-filled heaters don’t get hot enough to require a grill). Don’t remove it.
- Keep all materials at least three feet from space heaters.
- Never use a space heater while it’s unattended or you’re sleeping. Use extra caution around children.
- Make sure the heater rests on a stable surface.