Heat Your Home Safely This Winter - Carolina Country
Focus on space heaters December 2021
Focus on space heaters
December 2021

As temperatures drop, families often look for alternative ways to generate heat throughout their homes to supplement the use of their HVAC units throughout those cold winter months. Space heaters are a great way to warm specific rooms in your home without having to crank up the thermostat, but using space heaters does not come without risks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), space heaters account for about one-third of home heating fires and 80% of home heating fire deaths annually, with almost half of these fires occurring in the months of December, January, and February. Common household mistakes contribute to the majority of these fires, such as placing flammable objects too close to heating equipment. Families should use extreme caution with all alternative heating devices. Here are a few tips to consider when purchasing and using a space heater.

Look for Safety Features:

1Certification: Make sure the heater you buy carries a safety certification label from an independent testing organization, such as the UL mark, the ETL label from Intertek, or certification from CSA International.

2Shutoff features: A smart sensor that automatically shuts off a heater when it overheats is a must. You’ll also want a tip-over switch that does the same if the heater is knocked over.

3A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) plug: Most space heaters don’t come equipped with a GFCI plug, which prevents electric shock. Heaters without one should not be used around water.

4A sturdy cord: Most space heaters come with a cord that’s six feet long. To prevent overheating, never use an extension cord or a power strip with an electric heater.

Use a Space Heater Safely

  • Place the heater on a hard, level, and nonflammable surface. These appliances are intended to sit on the floor, not on a table, or other high surfaces.
  • Establish a three-foot, kid-and pet-free zone around the heater, and never put a space heater in a child’s room.
  • Keep the space heater at least three feet away from combustible materials, such as furniture, bedding, and curtains.
  • Don’t use a heater in a workshop or garage near paint, gas cans, or matches.
  • Turn it off when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Plug the heater directly into an outlet.
  • Unplug the heater when it’s not in use by pulling the plug straight from the outlet. Check the cord for damage periodically, and don’t use the heater if the cord is frayed or worn.
  • Don’t plug another electrical device or an extension cord into the same outlet as a heater—that can cause overheating.
  • Remember that using caution when using a space heater not only covers you from the dangers brought on by trying to keep warm during winter’s cold temperatures, it also protects you and your family from additional, and possibly bigger expenses.

Is your home ready for cold weather?

While winter’s cold weather can produce higher home energy use, the good news is Union Power is committed to helping you stick to your New Year’s resolution of reducing your monthly utility bill. Here are some tips to help you save both energy and money when cold weather strikes.

Are you ready?

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