If you plan to use a space heater this winter, here are seven common-sense tips to help you stay safe:
1. Do your research. Choose a heater that’s been tested and certified for safety by an organization such as Underwriters Laboratories. Some shut off automatically if the unit overheats or tips over, but don’t substitute such features for careful use. To check for safety recalls, visit the SaferProducts website.
2. Don’t overload your circuits. Plug your portable heater into a wall outlet that can handle the wattage, and ensure the plug fits tightly. Never plug it into an extension cord or power strip or into the same wall outlet as other heavy-duty appliances.
3. Establish a perimeter. Place the heater in an open area, not under desks or in other enclosed areas, and keep it at least 3 feet away from anything flammable. Ensure children and pets don’t get too close, either.
4. Don’t cover up the cord. Never run the heater’s cord under rugs or carpeting. This can damage the cord, causing it and nearby objects to burn.
5. Monitor for excess heat. During use, check frequently to determine if the heater plug or cord, wall outlet or faceplate is hot. If so, discontinue use and seek repairs.
6. Set the thermostat. By using a heater with thermostat controls, you can help avoid overheating the room, which wastes energy, as well as the unit.
7. Don’t leave it unattended. Leaving the room or sleeping? Hit the “off” button, and unplug the heater.
Get Insurance, Get Protected
Whether we rent or own, we’re all at risk for a home fire, especially during the winter. You can help ensure your home and belongings are protected by having the renters insurance coverage or home insurance coverage you want. Work with an independent insurance agent to purchase the coverage that’s right for you so you can enjoy the winter, and every season beyond.