As temperatures drop, you may want to use a space heater to stay warm -- but you should never plug it into a power strip. With cooler temperatures expected, some may want to use their small space heaters. If so, DO NOT plug them into a power strip. These devices are not designed to handle the energy load of a space heater and can overheat, causing a fire hazard.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, improperly plugged space heaters can overheat more than 500-600 degrees Fahrenheit. This not only poses a significant fire hazard, but can also lead to electric shock.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, improperly plugged space heaters can overheat more than 500-600 degrees Fahrenheit. This not only poses a significant fire hazard, but can also lead to electric shock. Space heaters can be effective tools for providing added warmth at home, but it’s critical that people follow basic precautions to ensure that they’re used safely,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of the National Fire Protection Association's Outreach and Advocacy division.
A report from the NFPA concluded that heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires in the United States. Between 2011 and 2015, space heaters accounted for more than 43 percent of the country's home heating fires and 85 percent of home heating fire deaths.
The following list includes some important space heater safety tips and recommendations:
Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
Heaters must be kept at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
For more information, please contact the Guilford Office Of The Fire Marshal.