4 Things to Consider Before Buying a Space Heater

By: Danny Lipford

(CC 2.0 by Tony Webster, License:; resized and color corrected)

When buying and using an electric, gas, or kerosene space heater in your home, it’s important to follow some basic safety guidelines.

Space Heater Buying Guidelines:

1. Choose a space heater that has been tested and certified by an independent laboratory such as UL, ETL or CSA.

2. Make sure the space heater you buy has a guard in front of the heating element or flame.

3. Choose a space heater that is sized for the space you plan to heat.

4. Select a space heater with a thermostat control to keep from overheating the room.

Space Heater Safety Guidelines:

1. Only operate a space heater on a hard, level surface.

2. Make sure the space heater stays at least three feet away from fabric, such as bedding, drapes, furniture or children’s toys, as well as holiday decorations and artificial trees.

3. Never use a space heater to dry clothing or blankets.

4. Don’t leave a space heater running unattended or when you’re asleep.

5. Be sure to supervise children and pets at all times when a space heater is in use.

6. Avoid using an extension cord with electric space heaters.

7. Never run a space heater power cord under a rug or carpet.

8. Have gas and kerosene space heaters inspected annually to ensure that they aren’t releasing carbon monoxide, or other harmful pollutants, into your home.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: When the weather gets really cold outside, like it is now, lots of people use space heaters to supplement their home’s heating system; or to warm areas, like this garage, that aren’t connected to their furnace.

Now that’s not a bad idea, but there are some very important safety considerations that go along with using this kind of heater.

First, be sure that it’s tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory and that the heating element or flame is covered by a guard. Then you want to choose a heater that’s the right size for the area you want to heat. If it’s too big or too small, it won’t operate efficiently or safely.

It’s also a good idea to pick a model that’s thermostatically controlled so that it doesn’t overheat the space. Now, once you have chosen a heater, locate it on a hard, level surface at least three feet away from fabrics, like bedding, drapes, or furniture.

For electric units avoid using extension cords if at all possible, and never run the power cord under a rug or carpet. Both of these situations can lead to overheating and the possibility of fire.

Gas and kerosene models should be inspected annually to ensure that they aren’t releasing harmful pollutants into the home. And, finally, never leave the space heater running when you go to sleep or leave the area.

Hey, be safe and stay warm this winter.


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4 Things to Consider Before Buying a Space Heater