With winter fast approaching, you may soon be ready to bring out your space heater, or you could be shopping for a new one. Space heaters are useful gadgets for cost-effectively heating a small area, such as the bathroom or your favorite corner of the living room. However, as you and other Delaware residents should know, a space heater can also be extremely dangerous if it is defective or used incorrectly.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, heating equipment, particularly space heaters, cause over 65,000 home fires in the U.S. each year. Heaters are reportedly the second-highest cause of home fires. Should you throw out your space heater to prevent the risk of fire or electric shock? Of course not, but you should take note of the following important tips:
- Never run the electrical cord under a carpet or rug, which significantly increases the risk of the cord overheating.
- Place the heater on the floor, rather than on a table or countertop, so it has less chance of being knocked over.
- Put at least three feet of space between a space heater and furnishings or items that can catch fire, such as curtains or bedding.
- Turn the heater off when you leave the room.
- Never leave children or pets unattended with a space heater.
- Inspect your heater at the beginning of the season and each week of use for signs of wear and tear or damage.
You may also find it helpful to check the Consumer Reports website or online news sites for information on recalls or accidents involving your brand and model of space heater. Many heating fires occur from damage or improper use, but some accidents result from a faulty product. You may wish to seek compensation if your space heater caught fire through no fault of your own.