Just how dangerous are portable space heaters?

Space heaters can warm up a chilly room. But beware.  There are a wide variety and number of them on the market, and have been around for decades.  BUT they can be dangerous, even deadly if not used safely.  They account for one-third of all home-heating fires each year, and more than 80 percent of home-heating fire deaths.  By following safety tips, you can assure a happier and warm outcome from their use.  You should also consider replacing older ones, since like anything they will have parts that wear out over time, even electric ones.

  1. NEVER place any space heater within 3’ of items that can burn, like clothe, paper products, wood, etc.
  2. Only use them while home of in the office
  3. Always plug directly into the socket — don’t use an extension cord
  4. If fossil fuel fired ( natural gas, propane, fuel oil) make sure they are UL listed for unvented use
  5. Newer units have tip-sensors which will turn them off if they tip over
  6. If it uses any type of fuel, fill it outside
  7. Use of electric heaters may pose a shock hazard if near water or they have a frayed cord
  8. Do NOT overload electrical circuits with multiple heaters
  9. Portable heaters may get HOT, and pose a hazard of burn, especially to small children

If the need arises for using space heaters, please do it safely.  The NYS 2015 Fire Code prohibits using unvented portable kerosene heaters in sleeping rooms, bathrooms, storage or toilet rooms.  Also they are prohibited from use in use groups A, E, I, R-1, R-2, R-3 and R-4 occupancies.  Fire Code 603.4 and NYS 2015 Mechanical code 922.2 as amended by the 2016 Uniform Supplement

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