For homes without a central heating system, space heaters are the next best thing, particularly when the cold months come in and you need to devise a quick solution to keep yourself from freezing. Space heaters are commonly used in many parts of the country, and yet people still ask, are space heaters dangerous?
Like most modern conveniences, space heaters also come with hazards, and using one in your home without being aware of the potential dangers can have disastrous results. To help you avoid accidents, below is a rundown of the four most common safety hazards that go with space heaters.
Are Space Heaters Dangerous? 4 Hazards to Keep in Mind
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Space heaters are divided into two types: electric and fuel-burning. If you’re only about to buy one, this is a distinction that you’ll probably want to remember. Why? This is because fuel-burning space heaters are known to emit carbon monoxide while in use. Using a fuel-burning type in an enclosed space is a big no-no as anyone inside can suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Hence, it’s always better to go for electric space heaters instead as they don’t pose such a threat. However, if you already have a fuel-burning type at home and can’t afford to get rid of it and get an electric one, just always make sure that there’s enough ventilation in the room where you’re running it.
It also doesn’t hurt to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Whether you’re using a fuel-burning or electric space heater, these alarms could be what saves you and your family.
- Flammable Materials
As in most houses, your home could also be filled with materials that can be flammable, like your carpet. Running your space heater on a carpet can result in a house fire. To avoid fire accidents due to space heaters, position your heater at least three feet away from anything flammable. If your home gets really cold in winter that ditching carpets is simply not a choice, take extra care in making sure that your heater is placed somewhere safe.
- Circuit Overload
Space heaters need a lot of energy to function properly and warm a room, much like an HVAC system or a furnace. Simply plugging it into a wall socket, an extension cord, or even a surge protected power strip can overload your home’s electrical circuit. If that happens, it could result in a blown fuse which, in turn, could trigger an electrical fire.
Now, the best way to avoid this is to have a circuit dedicated to your space heater, which is also the common safety practice for all appliances that pull in lots of energy, like air conditioners, refrigerators, and HVAC systems.
- Unattended Consequences
You know that feeling of dread when you’re outside and you suddenly thought that maybe you forgot to turn the gas stove off? You’ll get the same when you have a space heater at home. Space heaters left running unattended for a long time is a disaster waiting to happen.
Also, space heaters can easily get knocked over, and when you have children or pets running around at home, extra precaution has to be taken to ensure they don’t come too close.
If you have more questions about space heaters or would want a central heating system installed, don’t hesitate to send us a message here at Roger Stuth. With 20 years of experience serving both residential and commercial clients in the metro Austin area, we’re confident we can assist you in making your home a warm, cozy place.