Despite efficiency gains in home heating equipment, we continue to see more and more electric space heaters being used in Tideland served homes. They are also becoming a common sight in many office settings.
Aside from operating cost concerns, there are safety risks associated with the overuse of space heaters. Most household wiring is not designed to continuously operate a space heater, especially on the highest watt setting. If wiring becomes overheated, the insulation covering the wire gets softs and the weakened wire becomes a fire hazard. The photo below, taken during an energy audit, shows the telltale signs of an outlet that has overheated due to prolonged space heater use.
When buying and using electric space heaters, you should follow these general safety guidelines:
- Electric heaters should never be plugged into extension cords or power strips.
- Use the lowest wattage setting if you plan to use the space heater for an extended period of time.
- If the breaker trips when you use the space heater, don’t ignore the warning. The circuit could be damaged or be undersized for space heater use.
- Position the space heater away from the electrical outlet to prevent hot air from blowing back on the outlet, which will further tax the outlet and wires.
- If you see burn marks on the outlet, discontinue use of the outlet and call an electrician.
- Never leave a space heater underattended.
Learn more ways to stay safe while saving energy and money.