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Space Heater Safety Tips

A space heater can be a great way to warm up a room without cranking up the thermostat, but using space heaters doesn’t come without risk. The heating devices can be a potential fire hazard and should always be used with caution.

A recent report from the National Fire Protection Association found that space heaters account for 43 percent of home heating fires in the U.S. and 85 percent of associated deaths. If you plan to use a space heater for supplemental heat this winter, please use these tips to help keep your home safe.

  • Read and follow manufacturer warnings, and the operation and care guidelines before using a space heater.


  • Use a heater that’s the proper size for your room you plan to heat. Most heaters come with a general sizing table that you can use as a guideline.


  • Keep your space heater at least 3 feet away from any combustible materials such as bedding, curtains, furniture and clothing.


  • Place the heater on a level surface that is away from foot traffic.


  • Electric space heaters use a lot of electricity. Plug yours directly into an outlet on a circuit with as little else on it as possible. Do not use an extension cord.


  • Don’t leave your space heater unattended. And never leave children or pets unsupervised around a space heater.


  • Purchase portable heaters with an automatic shut off that will turn off if they’re tipped over.


  • Turn off the heater when you leave the room or go to bed.


  • Don’t use your space heater in the bathroom. The moisture can damage the unit, which could cause it to malfunction.


  • Never use a space heater to dry clothing, cook food, thaw pipes or warm bedding. They should be used for supplemental space heating only.


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