Homeowners are always looking for ways to save. Moreover, the winter months tend to be the most costly. Space heaters have become a popular alternative to heating your whole home. While they may prove to be more efficient, they come with risks. Space heaters have a bad reputation as a fire hazard. Therefore, it is essential to understand how to heat your home correctly, and safely. In this month’s blog, we will go over everything you need to know about space heaters. Moreover, we have a list of space heater safety tips to keep your loved ones safe, and your home cozy.
How They Work
One of the first parts of space heater safety is understanding how they work. Space heaters can heat you, and the room you’re using in three ways: radiant heat, convection or fan forced.
Firstly, radiant heat is comparable to the sunlight on your skin on a summer day. To clarify, energy moves through the air, instead of absorbing it. When the heater produces infrared waves, they hit an object, and most of the heat will remain absorbed. The closer you are to the heater, the more of the radiant warmth you will be able to feel. The result is instantaneous. Consequently, this warms people, and objects, rather than heating the whole room. If you are in need of immediate heat, this type of space heater will be your best option.
Secondly, convection heat works by heating the air circulating through the appliance. Meanwhile, the newly warmed air rises towards the ceiling and pulls the cooler air down where it is heated once again. This ongoing circuit of warm/cool air is called a convection loop. Eventually, this allows for the heating of an entire room. However, it is not immediate. For best results, purchase a heater with an integrated fan. These heaters will naturally spread heat further.
Lastly, fan-forced heat works in a similar way to convection heaters, but uses a fan. In other words, the fan passes air over the heating elements. This step allows for rapid heating of a room. Additionally, fan-forced heaters are 100% energy efficient. That means that all the energy goes into the room as heat.
Types of Space Heaters
There are many great options on the market. Subsequently, practicing space heater safety should be a crucial part of heating your home, regardless of the type. Similarly, each product has space heater safety precautions to take. So, which one should you buy?
Electric Space Heaters
Electric space heaters are the most common for indoor use. They will be the ones you plug into your wall. They come in all shapes and sizes, but work the same. The best types employ space heater safety features. Here are some things to look for:
Tip-Over Switch:This feature shuts off the unit if it is knocked over. If you have children or pets, this feature is especially important.
Cool Touch: Having a heat-resistant exterior is another important space heater safety precaution. This will minimize the risk of burns.
Overheating Protection Switch: This switch detects when the heater’s internal temperature becomes unsafe. Alternatively, you can pre-set the unit to turn off at your desired temperature. Overall, this feature not only keeps you safe but saves you money.
Bathroom Friendly: Your bathroom is a damp, moisture-ridden space. Therefore, it is not always electrical friendly. Look for products with a “bathroom friendly” approval. These units have AC plugs that can stand up to the moisture and reduce the risk of shocks.
Gas and Oil Burning Space Heaters
These types of heaters burn gas, propane or kerosene. They should only be used outdoors or in well-ventilated areas. Most importantly, because they produce dangerous combustion gases. For example, you may use this type of heater in tents, porches or in construction homes before windows/doors are installed.
As far as space heater safety precautions go, be sure your unit has a low-oxygen shutoff. This feature stops fuel from flowing and shuts off the flame when oxygen levels become dangerously low. If you are thinking about this type of unit, do your research. Gas and oil space heaters need to be used and maintained properly to avoid serious repercussions.
Space Heater Safety Tips
DO beware of placement. Unfortunately, you cannot just place your heater anywhere. You always want to keep placement in mind. First, set your heater on a level floor. Next, make sure the surface is non-flammable. By doing these two steps, you minimize the risk of fires. Lastly, if you have pets or children keep the heater at a safe distance. Even with safety features, accidents can happen.
DON’T use extension cords. Using an extension cord for your space heater can lead to overheating. Likewise, long wires create a tripping hazard. You will want to plug the cable directly into a wall outlet. In addition, make sure it is the only thing plugged in.
DO inspect and maintain regularly. Just like all the HVAC in your home, maintenance is crucial. Clean your heater to make sure it is in good working condition. Adding a quick wipedown to your cleaning checklist will help you stay safe and keep your unit working for years to come.
DON’T leave it unattended. Never leave your space heater, even if its for 10 minutes. It is vital to always keep your eye on your unit when in use. Turn off and unplug your space heater whenever you’re not in the room — trying to warm up a room while your away is never a good idea!
Space heaters are an effective way to heat any room in your home. Be sure to follow our space heater safety tips for maximum protection. However, space heaters should not be used for long-term use.
Is your home always cold and drafty? There may be a bigger problem at stake. If you are concerned with your HVAC system, give us a call. A central heating pump or furnace is always more efficient at heating your home. Space heaters are a quick-fix option but will become costly as a lone heating source. Instead, fix the real problem. Improving your home’s central system will make it a safer, and more comfortable place to live in the long run.