The Dangers of Space Heaters

Space heaters are heating devices that heat a single room or zone. Unlike central heating systems, they can only heat one small space or area, and they are usually electric in nature. That means they have to be plugged in. And because they’re usually tall and thin in appearance, they pose a risk of toppling over and starting fires.

As such, space heaters are dangerous to use and should be avoided unless under constant supervision.

It can certainly be tempting to use a space heater, though, especially when temps plunge below your comfort level yet you don’t want to turn on the whole house heating system. Perhaps you’re single and live alone, and only want to heat your bedroom at night. Or maybe you’re having friends over and only want to heat the living room. Perhaps you have an older home and it costs too much to heat your kitchen due to high ceilings.

In these instances, space heaters can come in quite handy. Just be aware of the dangers and heed these tips when chasing away the chill in Plano.

Space Heater Safety

Resorting to this kind of speedy heating source without heeding precautions can result in disaster. The greatest threat is fire. The statistics don’t lie:

  • Space heaters are responsible for 5,000 fires and more than 300 deaths each year.
  • Space heaters account for 80% of home heating fire deaths.
  • Space heaters are responsible for a third of home heating fires.

There are several other ways in which space heaters can result in accidents and injuries:

  • They are a shock hazard just like any other electrical device.
  • Space heaters use up lots of electricity, easily overloading circuits and causing power failure or fire.
  • Some components of the heater can get really hot. Kids and pets can get burned if they brush against the surface or stick their fingers inside. Their clothes can also catch fire.
  • Some space heaters can tip over, especially taller ones, leading to a fire hazard.

Space Heater Safety Tips

If you absolutely must use a space heater, take the proper precautions and make the experience as safe as possible. Here are some tips to follow this winter:

  1. Don’t leave pets and young kids alone in rooms with space heaters.
  2. Choose a space heater with a guard surrounding the heating element, which will help prevent burns.
  3. Buy a space heater that has been thoroughly tested and certified by a national testing laboratory. These labs have to meet stringent safety standards and manufacturers must provide use and care information to all consumers.
  4. Don’t leave a space heater on when leaving the house or going to sleep. When using a fuel-fire heater, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up; if using an electric model, a fire can start.
  5. Do not operate many appliances at the same time when using a space heater, and do not use extension cords with these devices. This can help prevent circuit overload.
  6. Inspect your space heaters regularly, being on the lookout for frayed wires. Remove dust and dirt on grates, coils, grills, and other elements, as these are all fire hazards.
  7. Don’t use space heaters in rooms where moisture buildup and spills are likely to happen, such as kitchens and bathrooms. This will help prevent shocks.
  8. If you’ve been using an older model, invest in a newer one with better safety features.
  9. Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and regularly make sure the batteries are working.
  10. Use a smoke alarm/carbon monoxide alarm when using a space heater.
  11. Switch off portable heaters when leaving the room or retiring for the night.
  12. Keep flammable items at least three feet away from space heating equipment. This three-foot safety zone includes drapes, furniture, and electronics.
  13. Plug electric heaters directly into a wall outlet if you can, as extension cords and power strips cannot handle the load of an electric space heater. If you do need to use an extension cord, go with the shortest heavy-duty cord of at least 14-gauge wire when possible.
  14. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to the use of extension cords, and do not place an electrical cord under rugs because it can build up heat.
  15. Purchase a space heating unit featuring a tip-over switch for safety; this automatically shuts off the heater when the unit tips over.
  16. Never leave a space heater unattended.


By following these space heater safety tips, you can do your part to keep everyone in your home safe and warm.

Contact Cold Factor Heating and Air Services


It’s always best to use your home’s heating system whenever possible for safety’s sake. Make sure it’s inspected and maintained regularly to keep it in optimal condition. That’s where Cold Factor Heating and Air Services comes in. We proudly serve all of Plano and surrounding areas such as Lewisville, Flower Mound, Carrollton, McKinney, Grapevine and Frisco.

Our effective, safe and affordable heater maintenance and repair services are second to none. Call today to schedule a consultation so our technicians can inspect your home heating system, make any necessary repairs and ensure it is working safety. With regular TLC, not only will your heating system run more efficiently, it will also give you peace of mind that you just can’t get from a space heater.

Just call us today for a free quote on heater repair and maintenance in Plano TX.



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