Room heaters give a rusty, campfire feeling to your home. The cost and portability are also attractive. But when you use room heaters in the wrong way, you replace cozy benefits with great risks.
National Fire Protection Association says:
- “Space heaters are the type of heating equipment most commonly involved in home heating fires, found in two out of five of these fires and account for 86% of associated civilian deaths, 78% of civilian casualties and 54% of direct property damage.”
The numbers do not lie! Be careful and warm by avoiding the most common risks with room heaters.
1. Works for near flammable materials
Are room heaters dangerous? It depends on how you use them.
They should complement your oven. Do not rely on them as your main source of heat as some room heaters use exposed heat sources reaching 100 ° F.
They need three feet of space around them when hot or in use. By doing this, the risk of fire is drastically reduced.
Never place a heating element on a carpet or a rug. Use hard floors or a fireproof surface.
2. Run your heater non-stop
You can overheat the cables or circuit when running a room heater 24/7.
If your room heater uses gas or oil, it can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if it is run for too long. Make sure that these units are properly ventilated and switched off at the right time.
Set a timer or buy a unit with a built-in thermostat. This switches off the room heater when the room reaches a certain temperature.
Whatever you do, do not leave a heater unattended. Turn it off before leaving the room.
3. Uses the wrong size
Do room heaters use a lot of electricity? It depends on how much space you need to heat up.
According to Sylvane, you should have 10 watts of power for every square meter of floor space in the room you heat.
It draws more from electricity or fuel when it is too small for a room, which creates a greater risk of fire. In the same way, a heater that is too large can overheat a room and cause combustion.
Ignore bad or broken wires
Broken or worn cords can lead to electric fires. If you notice these problems, contact a qualified repairer or replace the room heater.
When using extension cords and branch outlets with a heater, you can overload circuits. Consult an authorized electrician before connecting room heaters to extension cords and branch outlets.
Do not place your room heater in an area where people and pets are walking. You do not want the children and animals to run into it and get hurt.
The plug can cause the heater to fall, so invest in a unit that shuts off automatically when it tips.
6. Run a heater in humid environments
Moisture in your home can cause electrical problems with your heater. Use only devices approved for your bathroom.
Do not use heating elements for a flooded basement either. It is better to use a dehumidifier or wet-dry vacuum. If the problem is serious, contact a plumber.
7. Neglects maintenance
It’s time for service or replacement if your room heater makes strange noises, gets too hot or does not get hot enough. Do not ignore the signs of a failing device as it may cost you.
A few more things you should know
Room heaters for propane, natural gas and kerosene are unventilated. They also produce carbon monoxide.
This is why they are not intended for regular use in your home. You may want one that keeps you warm when you work in your garage. It’s ok, but make sure it’s ventilated.
No matter which room heater you buy, make sure it meets the test requirements. It should have a label from a test lab such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
What happens if a fire breaks out in your home? Would you have a plan to take care of the damage?
Contact a local, licensed Pekin Insurance agent to make sure you have the right homeowner coverage.