Do you remember the tragic story of the 5 year old in Northwest Arkansas who died in a home fire caused by a space heater? This little boy was trapped inside of an apartment building as it was up in flames because his space heater caught fire in his bedroom while his family was sleeping. For the Poe family, this is a tragedy that will never be forgotten. According to the NFPA, space heaters are the second leading cause of home fires in the United States and the third leading cause of home fire deaths. “More than half (53 percent) of all home heating fire deaths resulted from fires that began when heating equipment was too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.”

These upcoming months are among the coldest months of the year and we know that you want to keep warm and cozy inside of your home. We want to make sure you know the safety measures you need to take in order to avoid space heater fires.

What Makes Space Heaters Dangerous?

Space heaters are often used alongside your regular central heating system. Many people put them in the rooms of their young children or elderly parents or grandparents who need to be kept warmer than the rest of the family. Space heaters heat the rooms they are in through radiation, convection, or electricity. Radiant heaters warm up the items and people around the heater, while convection heaters circulate hot air throughout the area that it is placed. Radiant heaters can cause items to go up in flames. For example, if a baby blanket on a crib is too near a space heater, it could go up in flames. Or if your space heater is positioned too closely to grandma’s bed, it could start a fire that results in burning your entire home down. Electric heaters give the risk of a potential shock hazard. If a cord of an electric heater has been chewed on by the family dog, or has just worn down over the years, it can potentially cause a fire as well.

There are also your older space heaters that run off of gasses. As with anything that runs off of natural gas, kerosene, propane, etc. it is dangerous to have in your home where carbon monoxide poisoning or gas leaks may occur if they are placed in an area with poor ventilation. Always remember these risks when deciding if it is worth using a space heater in your home.

Safety Tips from Reeves Insulation

Before you buy your space heater, or use the hand me down from grandma that she used for years, consider the following:

  • Make sure your space heater has a safety switch that will turn off i your space heater has been knocked over
  • Only buy space heaters with seal of approvals form known organizations such as the ETL
  • Make sure your space heater has safety shields in place to prevent burns 
  • Use the correct size heater for the size of your room
  • Do not use a space heater that will overheat your room

Now that you have bought your heater, take these safety recommendations when setting it up:

  • Follow all directions on the space heater box
  • Instal smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home
  • Check all cords for damages before plugging them into your outlets
  • Put the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic.
  • Keep all clothing, bedding, furniture, etc. at least 4 feet away from your space heater
  • Do not use electric heaters in bathrooms or kitchens
  • Never plus your space heater into extensions strips
  • Keep doors open when using gas heaters to that they can ventilate properly

Whenever your space heater is in use be sure to :

  • Always be in the room, awake,  that your space heater is heating up
  • Always keep an eye on children and pets around space heaters
  • Never pull the cord from the wall abruptly
  • Do not overload your electric circuits
  • If your outlet is hot, call an electrician
  • Clean dust from your space heater whenever it is turned off
  • Check for recalls on your space heater 
  • Check for space heater recalls here

Now if you are certain you want to keep using a space heater this winter, be sure to follow all of the safety guidelines we have lined out for you. We recommend playing it safe and not using a space heater. Instead, call Reeves Insulation to make sure your home is properly insulated and isn’t letting the cold air seep in and the warm air sneak out. We are the insulation experts and we are here to keep you warm during these chilling winter months.