15 Dec Space Heaters: Give them space!
Why you should give space heaters space!
Space heaters can make a poorly heated area cozy and comfortable without high whole home heating costs. They can bolster or replace ineffective whole home heating sources and make the coldest of days nice and toasty indoors. Making the choice to consolidate heating to the most used areas of a home with a space heater instead of centralized heat can reduce Winter heating costs considerably. Space heaters come in a range of heat outputs, heating element types, sizes, and costs. Some are ideal for heating a small area, others can easily heat an entire room. They can be a reasonable and effective choice when viewed and treated with proper respect.
Space heaters can potentially be a fire safety risk when not taken care of with safety in mind. The general rule of thumb is to keep self-contained personal heating units 36 inches or further from other objects or people. This is to prevent nearby objects from getting too hot and catching on fire and to prevent anyone from being burned. It is also wise to ensure that the surface the heater is situated on is not highly flammable. There are several kinds of space heaters, which can vary in the type of fuel used to produce heat, general heat output, the potential for danger, and a type of built-in safety features.
Gas, oil, or kerosene-fueled space heaters can be a reasonable and affordable option. It is a good idea to have up to date carbon monoxide sensors with regularly checked batteries in your home if this heating option is considered optimal. Using a heater with a combustible heat source can deplete the oxygen in the air or cause a potentially deadly buildup of carbon monoxide. Maintaining good air circulation, ensuring appropriate ventilation, and only using fuel-based heaters in more open areas can prevent these dangers. The use of a fuel based heater should always be accompanied with cracking nearby windows open a bit, to ensure air flow. Fuel-based heaters should always be used with the fuel source they were designed for. Mixing or switching combustible fuel sources can prove dangerous and increases the risk of fire. Modern fuel-based heaters now come with oxygen sensors that will extinguish the heater if surrounding oxygen levels drop below a certain point. Kerosene and other fuel heaters have a stronger ability to heat a larger space in comparison to electric heating units. The heat efficiency comes at the cost of a higher risk of heat damage, fire, oxygen depletion, and buildup of carbon monoxide. Additionally, the heating unit itself will require maintenance to continue operating efficiently and safely. As long as the heater itself is maintained well, used within safety standards, and kept clean, fuel-based heaters can be a good home heating option.
Electric heaters are another affordable and effective option. Generally, electric heaters use a heating element consisting of coils that heat up and radiate heat to the surrounding area. Occasionally they are accompanied by a built-in fan to disperse the heat. Electric heating units are best used for smaller areas, as they do not produce enough heat to encompass a large area in most cases. Electric heaters can pose a fire risk if they are running near flammable materials, are not kept clean, and are not being operated by manufacturer specifications. Most modern units come equipped with sensors and automatic shut off abilities to prevent dangerous situations. Just like fuel-based heating units, electric heaters are best kept a minimum of 36 inches from any other objects.
Space heaters and fire safety should be kept in mind regardless of which type of heater is being used. There are numerous simple steps that can be taken to prevent fire, personal injury, or additional heat damage. Besides ensuring that any personal heater is kept a minimum of 36 inches from any and all nearby objects, it is also wise to ensure that no fabrics or flammable materials could possibly fall onto the heater. Keeping everything a reasonable distance from the heat source will prevent personal injury or property damage. The close heat may feel nice for a time, but the long-term risks are not worth a few moments of intense heat. The heating element should always be turned off when no one will be awake or around the heater. Modern electric heaters are almost always equipped with an automatic timed shut off feature to prevent fire or damages due to extended use. It is better to manually turn any and all heaters off personally rather than relying on the automatic shut off features. Heaters should always be kept on flat, dry surfaces to prevent tipping over or electrical issues. Electric heaters especially must be used in dry areas with no risk of water exposure. Always plug electric heaters directly into a wall outlet, never into an extension cord or power strip. Extension cords and power strips can overheat easily and pose a fire safety risk. While this may pose a small difficulty in arranging a safe place for the heater to do its job, it is better to move belongings out of the way and plug it in safely rather than using a potentially dangerous extension cord for the sake of simplicity. As with all electrical appliances, the potential for shock is present with electrical heaters. If electrical issues are suspected in the home, do not use an electric space heater until an electrical professional has checked for safety issues and determined that it is safe. Checking with an electrical professional for any potential issues can prevent unforeseen damages and ensures that electrical heaters can be used as efficiently and safely as possible. All standalone space heating units, regardless of type, should be kept clean, dry, and away from pets, loose fabrics, and children. By taking the time to ensure optimal safety conditions and giving the heater the space it requires, any person in home heating option can be used to keep a room or a whole home toasty and cozy all winter long.
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