In selecting space heaters, here are the things to consider:
- What purpose will it serve? Supplemental or emergency heating?
- The size of the space heater suitable for the area you want to heat.
- Is it accredited? Does it have a recognized label by standard testing laboratories such as Underwriters Laboratories, Canadian Standards Association or InterTek? This will guarantee that its construction and performance meets the voluntary safety standards.
- Is it electrical or fuel-powered? Bear in mind that electric space heaters are safer than portable fuel-powered models such as those powered by natural gas, propane, and kerosene.
Location or Positioning
It is advised that you place the space heater on the floor unless otherwise specified. Keep space heaters away from all combustible substances – three feet should be okay. Flammable liquids and materials such as paper, clothing, and rug should not be found anywhere near space heaters. Also, do not position space heaters in high traffic areas and doorways. They could cause tripping hazards in such areas. Keep electric heaters away from moist environments such as the bathrooms to avoid water causing fire or shock hazard. Space heaters should be plugged directly into wall sockets, and there should be no other appliance plugged together with the space heater in the same outlet. Using an extension cord or power strips could result in a fire as these get overheated easily.
Follow Instructions Carefully
Do well to read and follow the manufacturer’s instruction on the manual. Take note of the warning labels. Users in the home should be guided on how to use the space heater. Do daily checks and maintenance regularly on the space heater. Before use, check the space heater for cracks, broken plugs, and loose connections. If any is noticed, discontinue use of the heater.
Both vented and unvented heaters need adequate ventilation. For unvented fuel-burning space heaters, it is best to keep all other doors open to prevent carbon monoxide build-up and oxygen depletion while facilitating adequate combustion. Note that toxic levels of carbon monoxide and unmonitored combustion could result in a fire outbreak.
Stick to the Space Heater’s Purpose
Do not use space heaters for purposes other than that designated. The space heater could either be for the provision of supplemental heat or emergency heat, so do not use it for cooking, drying clothes or thawing of pipes.
Turn on space heaters only when needed and turn-off when not in use or when leaving the area. Also, unplug and store safely when traveling.
Other Important Tips
- Keep space heaters away from pets and children.
- Set smoke alarms on all floors and test their performance monthly.
- For Natural gas or propane-fired heaters; do not attempt to light the space heater if you suspect gas leakage. Rather, turn off all controls and vacate the area. Avoid the use of all electrical switches and appliances such as radio or telephone in cases of gas leakage.
- Keep in mind that propane is denser than air unlike natural gas, so it would take time to dissipate.