Space Heater Safety Tips – Prevent Home Insurance Claims

In 2004-2008, most home heating fire deaths (82%) and injuries (64%) and half (51%) of associated direct property damage involved stationary or portable space heaters.  Cold weather is upon us so be safe when using a space heater.  Here are some tips to do just that –

  • Do not use an extension cord or strip plug. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.
  • Run the power cord so that no one steps on or trips over it.
  • Inspect the heater’s cord periodically to look for frayed wire or damaged insulation. Do not use a space heater with a damaged cord.
  • Turn off the heater when you leave the room ‐ unplug the heater when you leave for the day. Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep.
  • When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company.
  • Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump it and knock it over.
  • Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.
  • Use space heaters only as a supplementary source of heat. These devices are not intended to replace the home’s heating system.
  • Check periodically for a secure plug/outlet fit. If the plug becomes very hot, the outlet may need to be replaced by a qualified technician. This could be the sign of a
    potential home wiring issue.
  • Heaters should be placed on a flat, level surface. Do not place heaters on furniture since they may fall and become damaged or break parts in the heater.
  • Unless the heater is designed for use outdoors or in bathrooms, do not use in damp, wet areas.
  • Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture, and any other flammable or combustible materials.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

Special thanks to Columbia Lloyds for providing these valuable tips.

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