Don’t Make This Dangerous (And Costly) Heating Mistake

December 16, 2019

The mistake?

Plugging your space heater into a power strip, instead of directly into the wall.

Here’s why that is so dangerous: Power strips are not designed to handle the high-current electrical flow needed to support a space heater. This means if you plug in a space heater to a power strip, the strip can overheat and catch fire, potentially leading to a devastating house fire.

Unfortunately, this problem is all-too-common here in the U.S.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFP), from 2012 to 2016, local fire departments reported that fires involving heating equipment accounted for 15% of all reported home fires during this time.

We know many of our customers use their space heaters on the coldest days, especially in colder areas like bathrooms or bedrooms.

In this blog, we’ll share:

  • How to use your space heater safely
  • How to stay warm without relying on a space heater

How to use your space heater safely

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) recommends the following tips to use a space heater safely:

  1. Read the manufacturer's instructions and warning labels before operating the space heater.
  2. Make sure the space heater has been tested in a laboratory (you can usually find this on the space heater label). Look for the UL mark from Underwriters Laboratories, the ETL label from Intertek or certification from CSA International.
  3. Plug the space heater into the wall, not into a power strip or extension cord.
  4. Don’t let the space heater run unattended.
  5. Make sure your home’s smoke alarms have been tested and are operating properly.
  6. Place the space heater at least 3 feet away from any object that could potentially catch fire.
  7. Only place the space heater on level, flat surfaces (not on furniture, cabinets, or carpet).
  8. Unplug the space heater when not in use.

Note: Space heaters should only be used as supplemental heat. Do not use them to warm bedding, cook food or dry clothing.

How to stay warm this winter without relying on a space heater

Besides the potential safety hazard of using a space heater, it’s also an expensive form of heating if you rely on it 24/7.

Below are some tips to stay warm without having to totally rely on your space heater:

  • Use your central heating system (heat pump, furnace), if you have one. It will be more cost effective to use your HVAC system 24/7 compared to a space heater. Plus, you can heat your entire home instead of just one room or area.
  • Make sure doors and windows are closed and properly sealed. You can also put up thermal curtains to provide better insulation and keep the heat inside.
  • Cook on a cold day. The heat generated from using a stove or oven can help warm your home.
  • Bundle up! Wearing a wool or cotton sweater can help fight off the cold.
  • Drink warm beverages. Making a cup of tea or coffee or having a hot soup will warm your body.
  • Exercise for 20 minutes. Moving around will make your body produce heat and improve blood circulation, which will make you feel warmer.

Have more heating or electrical questions? We can answer them!

And remember: If you run into any heating, plumbing or electrical issues this winter, we have a team of skilled and friendly technicians standing by to help!

Posted in: Tips

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