Is Your Space Heater a Hazard?

The cold winter months often send people reaching for the thermostat. When you turn on the heat, if you are using portable, baseboard, or in-wall heaters, Electrical Safety Foundation International, Arlington, Virginia, reminds you not to turn off your attention to basic safety principles. ESFI offers these important safety tips and precautions regarding portable, baseboard and in-wall heaters.

  1. Electric in-wall fan heaters should be cleaned at least twice a year.ESFI suggests cleaning prior to the onset of heating season and spring cleaning, after the heater has been used for a season. Keep all furniture, draperies and other household objects at least three feet from in-wall fan heaters and twelve inches away from baseboard heaters.Keep portable space heaters at least three feet from all flammable materials.
  2. Plug portable space heaters directly into the outlet-do not use an extension cord.
  3. If an in-wall baseboard or heater is shut off at the circuit breaker, be sure to lock or tag the circuit breaker to prevent someone form accidentally turning it back on.
  4. If installing a new heater, read all information labels, follow all safety precautions, and verify that the electrical supply wires are rated high enough for the electrical demand of the heater.
  5. Some portable space heaters, electric in-wall fan heaters, and baseboard heaters have been subject to recalls.Check your brand and model number and visit www.recalls.gov for possible information on your heater.

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