During the coldest days of winter, many people may be tempted to use a space heater to provide extra heat in their house.  Space heaters are readily available at local and online retailers and are relatively inexpensive.  However, even the safest space heaters need to be used with caution to prevent the risk of fire.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission offers the following tips for safely using your space heater in your home.

  • Before use, inspect the heater, cord, and plug for damage.  If damaged, do not use it.
  • Never leave the space heater operating unattended or while you are sleeping.
  • Keep combustible materials at least 3 feet away from the space heater.  This includes the front, back and sides of the heater.
  • Always plug the space heater directly into a wall outlet.  Never use an extension cord or power strip.
  • Position the space heater on a stable, level surface where it cannot be knocked over.  Always keep it away from water.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s direction for use.

Always use caution when utilizing any supplemental heating methods in your home.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths with nearly half of these incidents occurring in the winter months of December through February.

**Please note that space heaters are NOT permitted for use in areas of nursing homes or personal care homeswhere residents may come into contact with them.  It is NEVER permissible to allow a resident to have a space heater in their room.

If you have questions regarding the safe use of heating equipment in your home, there are resources available: