Colder temperatures are beginning to move into the Modesto area. Before you turn on your central heating system for the season, you may want to use a small space heater to keep you cozy. These little heating units are great for heating small spaces, as long as you follow these important safety tips to prevent injuries and fires. Since heating equipment is the number one cause of household fires, it’s important to always stay vigilant and keep an eye out for danger.

1. Always Inspect Before Use

Before you first start using your space heater for the cold season, thoroughly inspect it for damage. Check all cords for signs of fraying or other problems that could put your safety at risk. If you have pets that could gnaw on wires, check wires daily. Don’t try to keep running a system that’s been damaged. Purchase a new one with good safety features instead.

2. Check for Key Safety Features

When purchasing a new space heater, don’t buy the cheapest model available. If you have children or pets, get a model that has a protective element around the heater to prevent burns. Make sure the label indicates that it has been tested by a reputable laboratory like Underwriters Laboratory and has its seal of approval.

3. Placement Is Important

Where you place your heater is very important. Never place a space heater on carpet since it can cause overheating and house fires. Keep it on a flat, non-flammable surface. Don’t place anything within a three-foot radius of the heater, including furniture and window hangings. In order to prevent electrical shocks, don’t place the unit in a moist environment, like a bathroom or basement.

4. Turn Your Heater Off Before Bed

When nights get cold, it’s tempting to run the space heater all night, just to stay toasty. Tossing and turning in the middle of the night may cause a blanket or sheet to be draped over the space heater, easily igniting a fire. In fact, the majority of house fire deaths are caused by space heaters, particularly at night. Stay safe and unplug the heater when you’re not awake to attend to it.

5. Don’t Use Extension Cords

A space heater should only be plugged directly into an outlet. An extension cord or power strip both increase the chances of overheating. This can cause sparking and fires, particularly if the unit is left unattended. An extension cord also serves as a trip hazard in case a fire should start in the middle of the night.

6. Never Leave a Space Heater Unattended

Just like you shouldn’t leave a space heater to run overnight while you sleep, they’re also not intended to be left to run when there is no one in the room. A space heater is meant to keep people warm, not heat up a room. Turn off and unplug the heater whenever you leave the room, especially if you have children or pets. This prevents the unit from becoming damaged or getting knocked over.

7. Check Your Smoke Alarms

When using a space heater, it’s important you know that all the alarms in your home are properly working if disaster strikes. There are several smoke alarm safety tips you should follow in order to keep your home safe.

  • One smoke detector per floor
  • One smoke detector per bedroom
  • One smoke detector near space heater
  • Change batteries regularly
  • Test detectors once yearly

If your space heater is powered by gas, it’s important you also install a carbon monoxide alarm in that room. It’s a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector in every location that propane or natural gas is used.

Contact the Pros

Sometimes, preventing house fires means calling in the help of professionals. Honey's Air & Solar offers heating maintenance services in Modesto, CA, that help keep you and your family safe and warm all winter long. We also offer heating repair and installation services to ensure your comfort through the chilly nights. Our additional services include a full range of heating and air conditioner services, generator services, water heater repair and installation services, and many others. To learn more or to book an appointment, give our office a call or take a look at our website. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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