Portable electric heaters are convenient, affordable supplemental heaters that warm stubborn cold areas in your home when you need to. Unfortunately, these heaters can be risky, so you need to pay close attention to how you use them. Here are five safety tips for running your supplemental electrical heater.
Stay Away from Combustibles
That spot next to the curtains or laundry basket might seem ideal but it’s a definite no-no. Electric heaters should be kept a minimum of three feet away from fabrics and other combustible materials. Similarly, keep a safe distance while you’re curled up in that blanket or snuggled under a throw. Think ahead so there’s no risk of contact with nearby textiles. Monitor small children and pets so they don’t accidentally bump or drop a blanket or sweater onto your heater.
Place It on a Stable Surface
Newer model electric heaters have a shutoff feature in case of tip over. This safety feature is a definite improvement but that doesn’t mean you can rely on it exclusively. Ensure that the surface on which you place the heater is stable and solid (and free from fabric). Avoid shaky folded tables, carpet, the edge of a shelf, or any cluttered surface.
Never Leave it Running While You’re Away
Even if it means walking into a chilly space, never leave your heater running while no one is nearby to monitor it. If anything should go wrong, you need to be able to react quickly to prevent things from escalating into a full-blown disaster. Speaking of cost, your electricity bill can quickly get out of hand with one of these heaters running day and night so there’s yet another incentive to shut it off.
Don’t Turn Up the Heat to Maximum Levels
Electric heating elements can burn out if you push them too hard. Having your heater fail is troublesome enough but it’s not the worst case. Cranking it up all the way increases the risk of a fire, both from the heater itself and from nearby combustibles. You also risk burns, especially for young children, pets or other vulnerable family members.
You Can Avoid Them Entirely with Proper Home Heating
Ultimately, the use of portable electric heaters is avoidable if your home’s heating is done right. You’re guaranteed to be safe from risk if you never use it at all. If you have a cold spot in your home, or your home itself is uncomfortable in winter, talk to a professional about addressing the issues.