Space heater safety tips

Photo Supplied/Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative

NATIONWIDE (WOWO): With temperatures dipping below freezing for the foreseeable future, space heaters are a popular option to warm up your work space or home.

However, the Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative (PPEC) and North Western Electric Cooperative (NWEC) warns that they have a high cost and that you must make proper safety precautions.

“Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States,” said PPEC Energy Advisor Peter Niagu. “Safety should always be a top consideration when using electric space heaters.”

Before using a space heater, inspect it for cracked or broken plugs. Always plug directly into a wall outlet and never use an extension cord or plug any other devices into the same outlet.

Other tips include:

  • Never place flammable objects such as curtains, bedspreads, table clothes or cleaning supplies closer than 3 feet
  • Never use near wet areas such as kitchen sinks, baths, showers, etc.
  • Be careful to place on a stable flat surface to avoid tipping over
  • Keep away from children and pets. Even a brief touch can cause severe burns
  • Be sure to check for frayed insulation on cords and never use with an extension cord
  • Turn off space heaters when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep

Another thing to consider is cost. PPEC says that using two space heaters for just two hours a day could add $20 to your monthly electric bill.

To stay warm without cranking up the heat at home, try some of these tips:

  • Dress in layers
  • Use blankets
  • Try microwavable heating pads
  • Leave your oven open after baking to release the heat (but do not attempt to heat a room by keeping an oven open while it is running)
  • Keep your feet warm with thick socks or slippers
  • Drink warm beverages (warms you from the inside out and keeps hands warm)
  • Reverse your ceiling fan so it spins clockwise to push warm air down
  • Try a humidifier (humid air feels warmer than dry air)
  • Clear your heat vents, registers, and radiators so heat can circulate
  • Do something active, like cleaning or getting up to move periodically so your body doesn’t get stiff and cold

“Space heaters warm people, not rooms,” Niagu said. “Don’t try to heat your entire home with them.”

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