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Heat that space safely

Space Heater

Using space heaters to warm small areas of the home can save money, but the heaters need to be used safely.

The heating element and, in some cases, the covering of a space heater can be very hot, so avoid touching the heater. Because burns can result from touching a space heater, you need to teach small children to stay away from any space heater or find ways to keep them from getting near the heater.

You also need to keep space heaters away from combustible materials such as furniture, carpet, walls, curtains, and tablecloths. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations on how far the heater needs to be from combustible materials.

Avoid placing space heaters in high-traffic areas as well. Many electric space heaters will shut o automatically if they tip over, but the element still can be hot, which could cause a fire if it comes in contact with combustible material.

Also, avoid purchasing space heaters advertised as “miracle heaters.” Radiant and convection space heaters can be found at any hardware store for a fraction of the hundreds of dollars of the advertised heaters and heat just as well.


  • Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have the most up-to-date safety features. Older space heaters may not meet newer safety standards. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use.
  • Place the heater on a level, hard, nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor.
  • Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • Turn the heater o if you leave the area.
  • Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.
  • Don’t place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
  • Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater, as even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of fire.
  • Don’t use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space.

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