A Quick Guide to Space Heater Safety


The National Fire Protection Association states that space heaters account for 40% of home heating fires… and 84% of home heating fire fatalities. If you use a space heater or are considering buying one, there are a few things Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning would like you to know for your safety.

Choosing the Right Space Heater

Let’s start with the right space heater. Here’s what you should look for:

  • NEVER buy used, since you don’t know what mechanical or electrical issues that heater may have.
  • Make sure it has the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label for safety.
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat.
  • Make sure the heater is rated for the volume of the room you’re heating.
  • We do not suggest using liquid-fueled heaters indoors.

Safety Tips for your Space Heater

Staying safe with a space heater is easy. It just requires a little diligence, a little time, and a little common sense.

  • Keep Your Space Heater Level: Your space heater should be on a hard, level surface that isn’t flammable.
  • Mind the Gap: There should be at least three feet of clearance on all sides of your space heater so that it’s not close to anything that might catch fire.
  • Watch the Critters: If you’ve got pets or toddlers, keep them away from your space heater. The hot surface can cause injury, and if the heater is knocked over it could cause a fire.
  • Avoid Extension Cords: Using the wrong extension cord, or plugging your space heater into a power strip, can lead to shorts or fires. Your space heater should only be plugged directly into an appropriate outlet that isn’t already carrying a significant electrical load.
  • Know When to Shut Down: Even if it has a thermostat or timer, your space heater should not be left on overnight or if you’re going to be out of the house.
  • Make Sure Your Smoke Alarms Are Working: This is important even if you’re not using a space heater, but if you are, then it’s absolutely vital .

One Last Question

If you’re using a space heater, it’s worth asking why. Sometimes you want one room significantly warmer than the rest of the house for an infant or an elderly family member, or find that one room is much colder than the others. Maybe you’re running a space heater in your basement or garage workshop. Or maybe the house, as a whole, doesn’t seem as warm as it used to be.

Those are all valid uses for a space heater, but it’s also worth asking whether a space heater is the right solution. Make sure that your home’s HVAC system is working at full capacity, that you have the right thermostat, or even ask a qualified Folsom HVAC installer about setting up different zones for your home heating and cooling if you find your needs vary from one room to the next. Many of our customers find they can put the space heater away once they’ve addressed the real root of the problem. Why not contact Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning to see how we can help you?