Using space heaters properly is critical to your safety. Here are some safety tips when using your space heater at home or at the office.

  • Make sure the space heater has been tested to the latest standards and is certified by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Use only portable space heaters that have an automatic “tip-switch,” which will cause it to turn off automatically if the heater is tipped over or not upright.
  • Make sure it has a guard around the flame area or heating element.
  • Place the heater on a level, hard, nonflammable surface; do not place on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, or on tables or countertops.
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet from bedding, drapes, furniture or other flammable items.
  • Turn the space heater off if you leave the room, and never leave a space heater on while sleeping or if you leave home.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • Discard and replace old space heaters that seem worn out. Always check for cracked or frayed cords when pulling them out for the season.

Electric Space Heater Terms:

  • Volts: a measure of electrical current flow. The higher the voltage, the more current will flow. Most household electrical current powering the TV, radio, lighting and appliances, for example, operates at 110-120 volts. Heavy-duty appliances, such as electric ranges, clothes dryers and air conditioners, may require 220 volts. Most electric space heaters are designed and labeled to operate at 110-115 volts and are plugged into a wall outlet.
  • Watts: the measure of energy conversion. The number of watts consumed is reported on your electric bill. Think of a light bulb — the higher the wattage, the brighter the light. The wattage delivered by space heaters relates directly to the amount of heat it can deliver.
  • BTUs: short for British Thermal Unit, a basic measure of thermal (heat) energy. When looking at space heaters, keep in mind that even the smallest units can produce 10,000 BTUs or more.
  • Amperage: the amount of electrical energy flowing through a space heater or any other appliance at any given time (also called current).
  • Convection heaters: type of space heater that is often selected when you want to heat a larger area occupied by several people.
  • Radiant heaters: type of space heater that transfers heat to individuals or objects when it is not necessary to heat an entire area.