How to safely use a space heater
Thousands of residential fires every year are associated with space heaters, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and they kill more than 300 people a year.
Additionally, an estimated 6,000 people visit emergency rooms for burns associated with space heaters, most of them not associated with fires, the federal Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy said.
• Purchase only newer-model heaters that have all current safety features.
• Make sure a heater has an Underwriters Laboratory label.
• Select a heater that's appropriately sized for the room you wish to heat.
• Put a heater on a level surface away from foot traffic.
• Keep children and pets away from a heater.
• Unvented combustion heaters that burn kerosene or natural gas are not recommended for use inside homes because they produce potentially dangerous compounds, including carbon monoxide, and deplete air.
• Sealed combustion heaters (which draw air from and vent outside) are much safer to operate than other types of space heaters. They are less likely to create a backdraft or reduce indoor air quality.
• For liquid-fueled heaters, use only the approved fuel. Never use gasoline, and never fill a heater that is hot.
• Vented heaters should be professionally inspected annually.
• Electric heaters should be plugged directly into wall outlets. If an extension cord is necessary, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord.
• Buy a model with a safety switch that automatically shuts off the heater if it tips over.
• Select a space heater with a guard around the flame area or heating element.
• Keep a heater at least 3 feet from bedding, drapes, furniture or other flammable materials.
• Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.