Whether you’re prone to getting cold feet while sitting in your home office or your central heating system has stopped working, a space heater can provide adequate, temporary warmth within just a matter of minutes. These units have long been valued for their ability to turn cold and otherwise uninhabitable spaces into cozy retreats. However, using them is not without risk. Following are six best practices to remember when turning on a space heater in your Franklin, IN home.
1. Put Your Space Heater on a Flat, Level Surface
Start by setting your space heater up on a flat, level surface. You want to make sure that both your space heater and anything supporting it is stable, and that your heater is at least 3 feet away from any flammable items. If you have thick carpeting, you should avoid putting the space heater directly on top of it.
2. Turn Your Heater Off Before Leaving the Room
Modern space heaters are designed with automatic emergency shut-off functions and built-in timers. These features kick into action whenever space heaters get tipped over or when they’re left running indefinitely. However, they aren’t reliable substitutes for having an actual person present. If your heater overheats, malfunctions, or tips over while it’s on, it’s best if you’re there to resolve the problem.
3. Avoid Using Space Heaters in Busy, High-Traffic Areas
Don’t set up your space heater in any area that gets a lot of foot traffic. It’s best to use these appliances in small rooms that are occupied by just one or two people. This limits the risk of having them get tipped over. For models with exteriors that get hot, it also reduces the risk of painful skin burns.
4. Upgrade Your Ancient, Outdated Space Heater
Remembering that you’ve got an old space heater tucked away and then immediately pulling it out and plugging it in is a bad idea. Old, outdated space heaters have a much higher likelihood of malfunctioning than brand-new ones do. Excessively old space heaters may lack important safety features such as automatic emergency shut-offs, timers, and heat-resistant covers.
Even accidentally bumping into certain older units can result in severe skin burns. If you’ve got an ancient, dust-covered space heater that might fetch a fair price at the antique market, put it away and head to the store for a new one. Space heaters aren’t expensive, and having a modern and feature-rich model can save you a lot of trouble.
5. Don’t Use Your Space Heater With an Extension Cord
Never plug your space heater into an extension cord or power strip. These appliances should always be plugged directly into wall outlets. Extension cords and power strips can overheat and cause fires, especially if you’ll be keeping your heater active for quite a while. It’s also a good idea to avoid overloading the wall outlet that your heater is plugged into. For safety’s sake, your space heater’s plug should be the only cord plugged into the outlet that you choose.
6. Don’t Make Your Space Heater a Primary or Long-Term Heating Solution
Space heaters are certainly handy when remote rooms like basements, garages, and converted attic spaces aren’t warm enough in the winter. However, they aren’t effective primary or long-term heating solutions. If your furnace is underperforming or no longer working, having it replaced is a much safer and far more efficient alternative to using a space heater. You’ll spend less money in the long run, improve the value, appeal and habitability of your home, as well as avoid several known hazards that come with frequent space heater use.
It’s also important to note that when Franklin winters are at their coldest, a single space heater won’t have the capacity to heat your entire home. With no central heating system, residents run the risk of developing hypothermia and other temperature-related health issues. Attempting to run multiple space heaters at once can overload your electrical system. It also greatly increases the risk of fire.
At Dugan Air Heating & Cooling, we offer reliable indoor air quality, heating and cooling services to residents of Franklin, IN, and the surrounding areas. We’re committed to helping our clients stay safe and save money throughout the winter season. If your central heating system isn’t working as it should, we can help. Call us today to find out about our furnace-replacement services.