Plenty of people in Eastern North Carolina rely on a space heater for spot heating, and as long as it’s used with caution, it can be safe. However, of all the ways of heating your home, space heaters pose the greatest risk. The National Fire Protection Association reported that space heaters were involved in 79 percent of fatal home fires, and blamed heaters that were too close to flammable materials.

Besides the proximity to flammable materials, space heaters that use fuel to create heat may not be entirely safe, either. Non-vented heaters rely on oxygen sensors to alarm you that carbon monoxide (CO) levels are too high, but these types are only as good as their sensors.

If you must use space heaters, make sure you:

  • Never use an extension cord or power strip with a space heater. Many of them draw more electricity than the cord or strip can deliver, which can cause a fire.
  • Only purchase UL-certified heaters that have tip sensors.
  • Test the smoke and CO detectors in your home frequently.
  • Ensure fresh air ventilation in a space where you use a non-vented heater by opening a window.
  • Keep them three feet away from anything combustible, like drapes, furniture, newspapers and clothing.

Besides the dangers space heaters pose, most aren’t energy efficient. If you rely on electric space heaters for routine heating, consider these safer and more efficient options:

  • Ductless mini split heat pump. These heat pumps are ideal for conditioning a room addition, basement, or garage throughout the year. They’re one of the most energy efficient and convenient HVAC options available. Easy to install, mini split systems don’t use ductwork to deliver warm or cool air.
  • Vented heaters. These combustion heaters send their exhaust gases through flues to the outdoors. If this is the best option for you, be sure to have it installed by a licensed HVAC pro.

Using a space heater does pose risks to home safety and if you use one routinely, it may be worth exploring other alternatives. To learn more, contact Jackson & Sons, providing trusted HVAC services for Eastern North Carolina homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Eastern North Carolina (including Wayne, Johnston, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt and Duplin Counties) about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock”