Be safe with space heaters this winter

Published 7:00 am Friday, November 20, 2015

If it doesn’t feel like winter now, it will Sunday, when temperatures are expected to dip into the low-30s.
As we get into the days of coats and heaters, we would like to remind our readers to use caution this time of year with the latter.
Space heaters are among the most common causes of winter house fires, though they need not be. If your heater is old, consider replacing it. The Consumer Reports website reports the cost of good space heater starts at only $40, so one does not have to break the bank to stay warm and safe.
Consumer Reports also suggests only buying a heater if it has a certification label from UL (Underwriters Laboratory), ETL (Intertek), or CSA (Canadian Standards Association). These groups test heaters to make sure they meet all federal safety guidelines, which are voluntary, so every heater may not meet them.
When buying a space heater, the safest are electric heaters as opposed to fuel-burning heaters. Heaters than run off kerosene or propane may generate more heat, but they are liable to give off dangerous fumes, too.
Of course, electric heaters are not without some dangers, too, especially if they are old. Newer heaters have several safety devices that did not exist years ago. For instance, if you have pets or small children, you should use a space heater that will turn off if it is tipped over.
In addition, the bets heaters have thermostats. A thermostat means the heater won’t run constantly, and this can save power and keep you more comfortable.
When placing your heater in a room, Consumer Reports recommends keeping it three feet from walls, and away from anything flammable.
Also, it’s best not to plug two space heaters into the same outlet, as this may cause a short.
Besides heaters, this season brings a whole host of potential safety hazards, including Christmas lights left on dry, flammable trees, food left too long on the stove, lit candles and more.
House fires, even relatively minor ones, are no fun and can potentially ruin lives. Please be safe this winter.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox