Many homeowners around the country are currently looking to purchase space heaters due to their winter season. Here are some common space heater hazards that you can easily avoid.
1. Fire Hazard
Space heaters should always be placed at least 3 feet away from anything flammable, such as curtains, wood paneling, or drywall. It’s also best to place them safe from air intake vents, doors, windows, and electrical outlets.
2. Carbon Monoxide Hazard
Running a space heater in your bedroom can increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from improper ventilation and poor combustion of gas. A carbon monoxide detector is recommended for any room where there is gas combustion without proper ventilation.
Never leave a space heater running when you leave the room or when you go to sleep. Leaving a space heater on overnight can cause it to overheat and catch fire.
Appliances that plug into an outlet carry electricity and, if not used correctly, can cause electrocution. Make sure to read directions carefully before plugging in a space heater. Avoid areas with water and moisture if using it outdoors. If outdoor space heaters remain plugged in, they can overheat and cause a fire.
5. Soldering and Overheating
Space heaters can be hazardous to handle because of the high temperatures involved. If you notice a space heater is overheating, do not touch it but use a towel or oven mitt to hold on to it. Keep in mind that a space heater can become hot enough to melt aluminum foil or solder.
6. Unintentional Exposure
Space heaters should never be placed over sinks, toilet tanks, or other water-containing areas. They should also not be used in any area where there are chemicals or toxic fumes. Moreover, a space heater should never be placed near a window or doorway because of the risk of unintentional exposure.
7. Battery Hazards
Spotting a difference between the (+) and (-) of a battery can be confusing. Do not use any battery that is damaged, leaking, discolored, or otherwise compromised. Be aware of the polarity of your space heater’s batteries before attempting to install them. The polarity symbol should be clearly marked on the heater itself.
While space heaters are handy during winter, it’s imperative that you carefully understand how to use them without posing safety hazards in your home. Make sure you know the wattage of your space heater and use it only as recommended to avoid fire hazards and electrical failures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are Space Heaters safe?
A. Firstly, most space heaters are sealed with metal enclosures which are made out of fireproof material. Secondly, most space heaters have safety devices installed, such as automatic shut-off switches and gas control valves to help prevent fires and leaks. Also, many models come with no-spill coolant systems, which automatically shut off the heater if it loses fluid or burns out.
Q. Can I use my space heater in my garage?
A. No! You should not. Space heaters are not meant to be used in confined areas such as garages, workshops, and basements.
Q. How does a space heater work?
A. The heat is produced by electricity that passes through special wires that heat up due to electrical resistance and then transfer the heat to the surrounding air via convection and radiation.
Q. What size space heater do I need?
A. This will depend on the size of the room you want to heat. A general rule of thumb is to buy a heater that can provide a heating area of 30 ft. by 30 ft. if you have a big room. However, be sure that you have enough space for ventilation, or else your heater might overheat and catch fire.
Q. What type of fuel do space heaters use?
A. Most space heaters use propane or natural gas. You should make sure that you’re using the right type of fuel for your heater. Many gas heaters require a regulator to be installed before they can be used.