Are Space Heaters Risky for Your Safety?

Are Space Heaters Risky for Your Safety?These days, there’s a wide range of choices when you’re shopping for a space heater. They can be electrical or fuel-powered, and deliver heat through convection, conduction or radiant heating modes. Even among those three modes, the designs are surprisingly diverse.

What’s more, today’s space heaters, also called auxiliary or room heaters, may even be fairly economical to operate, saving on energy by warming cold spots so there’s no need to turn up the thermostat. Further, newer space heaters mostly offer safety features that were not available a generation or so ago, so as long as basic safety rules are observed, they’re considered safer than ever to operate.

Three Types of Heating

When you’re shopping for auxiliary heating, you’ll be selecting from heaters that operate in one of three modes:

Conductive: Electric space heaters are in this category. They use heating elements made of mica or sometimes a nickel/chromium mix that converts electricity into heat. Most portable heaters are in this category.

Radiant: This category includes auxiliary heaters that circulate heated oil through connected pipes. They generate heat quickly and are good for spot heating. Another type is a fuel-oil heater.

Convection: Auxiliary heaters in this category heat air as it comes in contact with heating elements, and circulate heat by means of a fan. Convection heaters are mostly quieter than radiant types, and heavier, so are not really portable

Auxiliary Heater Safety

  1. Plug heaters directly into the wall. Never use an extension cord or you risk overheating.
  2. Place auxiliary heaters on a level surface, away from foot traffic.
  3. Keep heaters away from combustible materials.
  4. Do not use electric space heaters in rooms with wet conditions.
  5. Combustion-type heaters should be vented properly to avoid a buildup of carbon monoxide (CO).
  6. Never place anything on top of a space heater.
  7. Get rid of auxiliary heaters missing a grill, feet or knobs.
  8. Turn off space heaters when you leave the room. Unplug them when you leave the house.

For more on using a space heater safely, contact C. R. Wolfe Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ve served our Middletown customers since 1945.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Middletown, New York about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about space heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 845-367-4482.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “brian-a-jackson/Shutterstock”

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