Is it Risky to Use a Space Heater?

January 12, 2017

Snowy cabin home

Easy Electric Space Heater Safety Tips For Iowans

Space heaters can be a simple solution to keep you warm during the harsh Iowa winters, but they come with hazards that can have detrimental effects if used incorrectly. Knowing the types of space heaters available, when to use them and potential hazards involved can help you stay comfortable and warm this winter without posing a significant risk to you or your home.

What Types Of Space Heaters Are Available?

There are several factors to consider when choosing a space heater, such as the size of the space you plan to put the heater in and how long you prefer the heat to last. Knowing your personal heating preferences can help you determine the best type of space heater for your home.

What Types Of Space Heaters Are There?

  • Fan-forced: These space heaters have a fan that blows air over a metal coil when heated up. Fan-forced space heaters are best suited for smaller areas, making them a good option for apartment renters.
  • Infrared: Infrared space heaters warm an area by emitting electromagnetic waves into the air, similar to how the sun warms the Earth. This type of space heater is ideal for large basements because the heat is long-lasting and continues even after the heater is turned off.
  • Ceramic: These types of space heaters run on electricity and have ceramic plates that are attached to metal coils. Ceramic space heaters have an efficient design that heats up quickly to warm your home.
  • Oil-filled: Oil-filled space heaters, often referred to as radiator heaters, are similar to old-fashioned radiators found in older homes. This type of space heater is filled with diathermic oil that heats up and circulates through the columns. The heat is long-lasting but cannot be controlled, so it can make spaces very hot.

What Are The Dangers Of Space Heaters?

While most modern space heaters are much safer than they used to be, space heaters can still pose significant fire and electrical hazards if not used properly. Understanding the risks involved can help you and your family stay safe and warm this winter.

Fire hazard

Space heaters are involved in over 1,000 home heating fires per year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. To mitigate this risk, ensure your space heater is always placed on the floor at least three feet from all objects.

Electrical hazard

To reduce the shock hazard posed by space heaters, never plug your heater into extension cords or power strips. While in use, check the heater plug, cord and outlet is not too warm to ensure the device does not overheat.

Burn hazard

Space heaters, especially ceramic types, can get extremely hot and pose a burn risk to children, pets and adults if the plates are accidentally touched. Make sure your loved ones maintain a safe distance when using these types of space heaters.

Can You Leave A Space Heater On All Night?

Never leave your space heater running while unattended or sleeping. While some modern space heaters have safety features such as automatic shutoff and adjustable thermostats, leaving a space heater on for extended periods of time can damage outlets and cause a fire hazard. Purchasing an infrared or oil-filled space heater that emits long-lasting heat can help keep you warm overnight without imposing a safety risk.

Is It More Efficient To Turn My Thermostat Up Or Use A Space Heater?

Turning your furnace temperature down slightly while using a space heater is a great strategy to stay warm while saving money on your gas or electric bill. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, space heaters can be less expensive to use when you only want to heat one room or when you use a room for a short period of time. However, ensuring you have an efficient heating and cooling system can help you stay warm this winter without posing significant hazards to you and your home.

Still Unsure If Your Electric Space Heater Is The Most Efficient Option For Your Home? Call A Lozier Certified HVAC Technician!

If you want to improve the efficiency of your home heating and cooling system without using a space heater this winter, contact the experts at Lozier! Give us a call at (515) 267-1000, send a text to (515) 393-4262 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment with a technician for a quick furnace inspection to make sure you stay safe and warm this winter.