January 6, 2020
By Mark Paup

Tips for Safely Using a Space Heater

Updated January 26, 2024

With winter in full swing, now is the season to make sure all your home heating needs are met. That’s why at Golden Rule, we offer service for everything from furnaces to boilers to heat pumps. But what do you do if you want to bring extra heat to one room specifically? For many Americans, the answer is to use a space heater. Yet these devices can be extremely dangerous if you don’t follow the proper operation. Find out the top tips for safely using a space heater here, and remember to call our HVAC pros for all your other heating needs this winter

15 Safety Tips for Using a Space Heater:

  1. Keep space heaters at least 36 inches away from other objects. Placing space heaters too close to other items, especially anything even remotely flammable, can cause a fire hazard, and is not safe for any room in your house.
  2. Never leave your space heater unattended. You should also try to purchase a space heater with a timer, so the device will shut off on its own, in case you forget to turn it off.
  3. Don’t plug your space heater into an extension cord or power strip. This can create a tripping hazard, and it’s easier to overload your electrical system this way, creating another fire risk. In general, avoid running other devices and cords around your space heater, since, as we’ve already discussed, it is important to keep the area around the unit clear.
  4. Make sure your space heater fits the size of your room. While a space heater that is too small for your space may fail to provide adequate heat, purchasing a space heater that is too big for a given room can cause dangerous overheating.
  5. Check to see if your space heater is missing any parts. If any components aren’t present, it’s safer to avoid using them altogether.
  6. Place your space heater on a flat surface. A space heater that accidentally tips over is a fire risk, and you don’t want to increase the chances of this happening.
  7. Going off the last point, you should only purchase space heaters that have a tip-over switch. This will ensure your heater does turn off in case it is flipped on its side.
  8. Take your space heater out of direct pathways. There’s no reason to encourage even the slight chance that someone will run into it. This brings us to…
  9. Avoid putting space heaters in rooms with pets and children. There is a greater chance that equipment will get knocked over when kids and animals are running around and that someone will get burned or hurt.
  10. Don’t use space heaters in wet areas. The combination of heat and electrical components can make for an extremely dangerous mix.
  11. Don’t put clothing on top of space heaters. You may think your space heater is a great way to warm up that damp sweater, but trust us, it’s not worth the fire risk.
  12. Check to see if your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working. Ideally, these should be located in the same room as your space heater, to alert you if the unit is emitting any toxic smoke or gas immediately.
  13. Seal doors and windows to keep your space heater from shutting down and freezing up.
  14. Look for the Underwriters Listed (UL) or Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL) seal of approval when buying a space heater. These are independent product safety organizations with a reputation for helping consumers make smart choices.
    Make sure your space heater is ground fault protected. This will ensure it is always safe and compatible with your electrical system.
  15. For more information about space heaters and other heating devices, call 515-393-4526 now, or contact us anytime online.

For more information about space heaters and other heating devices, call 515-393-4526 now, or contact us anytime online.

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