When the temperature starts falling, but it's not quite cold enough to turn the central heat on yet, you may try to get by with just a space heater in the rooms you use most. Space heaters are also super handy when your heat goes out and you're waiting for the heater service company to arrive. But while they are handy, they do present some risks—so you'll want to keep some safety guidelines in mind when using a space heater.
Look over the cord before use.
Take a close look at the cord before plugging in your space heater. If it has been stored for a long time, the bends in the cord may have become worn down, rats may have chewed the cord—or your dog may even have gotten a hold of it. If the cord is at all stripped or frayed, it's not safe to use.
Don't place anything near the space heater.
The area right in front of the space heater can get a lot warmer than you imagine! Don't let anything, including pillows, blankets, and toys, sit in this area. Put the space heater on a hard surface, not on carpet, so it is sturdy and the carpet in front of it does not get too warm.
Don't use an extension cord.
If you read the labels on most space heaters, they will tell you not to use the appliance with an extension cord. The space heater simply draws too much power to be safe. Adhere to this guideline—it could be a fire hazard to ignore it.
Don't leave kids alone with a space heater.
If the kids are in the room with the space heater, make sure you watch them closely. Instruct them not to touch the front of the heater because it is hot.
Keep the space heater level.
Make sure it is sitting on a flat surface whenever it is on. You would not want it to tip over and blow hot air directly at the ground when you're out of the room for a minute.
Have a smoke alarm in place.
Just in case something were to happen, make sure you have a working smoke detector in the home—at least in the room where the space heater is located. Having a fire extinguisher on hand is a good idea, too.
For more safety tips, take a look at your space heater's owner's manual. Follow the operation instructions as closely as possible.
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