Who does not want to stay warm in winter? There are several ways to keep ourselves warm in the cold winter season, such as firelogs and central heating systems. Still, these are risky and costly solutions. One of the cheapest and relatively safe ways of surviving the winter is using space heaters. Space heaters are a cost-effective and feasible solution to winter cold and a great tool in heating up small to medium spaces without worrying much about electricity bills. Still, they can be risky appliances to operate in homes not only because of their electrical hazards but also because of their fire hazard. Preventive solid measures and appropriate attention are required and recommended in using space heaters, especially if the house has pets or children.
This article will learn the hazards and risks of space heaters, especially fire hazards, and the protective measure to save your family and house from them.
Can Space Heaters Cause Fires?
Vital safety and preventive measures are recommended in the usage and storage of space heaters. They are electrical devices, and like any other electrical device, they have electrical hazards. Not only that, but they also possess fire hazards and are the leading cause of home fires.
There is a report of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Space heaters caused almost 50 thousand fire incidents per year on average between 2012 and 2016 alone in the United States. The numbers mentioned above are 15% of all the fire cases reported around the country. According to another report, almost 2 in every five fire incidents in homes are caused by space heaters. A space heater generates nearly 86% of all home fire casualties. Space heaters are also responsible for 78% of all home fire injuries.
From these reports, anyone can conclude that space heaters are dangerous pieces of equipment when not used properly, and one should use them with extreme caution.
How Different Types Of Space Heaters Cause Fire
Space heaters come in different varieties and have other working mechanisms. The working of the space heater is the most common cause of fire incidents. There are two types of space heaters: fossil fuel-fed space heaters and electric space heaters.
Risk Of Fire In Oil Heaters
Fossil fuel-fed space heaters, commonly known as oil or gas heaters, provide heat by direct burning of fuel and are considered more dangerous than electrical heaters. This is because of the following reasons:
- Natural burning of flame can cause open fires.
- The surface gets over-heat which can cause other materials close to catch fire.
- No temperature regulation, which is also a hazard.
- Generally, no safety measures are installed like tip-over and overheat protection, making them more prone to cause fire incidents.
- Not only that, but they also release toxic gases like carbon monoxide, which is a chemical hazard.
Risk Of Fire In Electrical Heaters
Electrical heaters are also divided into convection heaters and infrared heaters. These heaters are considered safer due to their controllable temperature and other safety measures, but they are still hazardous. The leading cause of electrical heater fires is the electrical spark which can cause a fire. Other reasons are:
- Overheating problem.
- Electrical cord damage.
- Placement of overheating objects in the vicinity of the heater, especially infrared heaters, directly warms things.
- Low standard heaters which are not certified.
- Use of extension cord
Points To Notice In Space Heaters Which Saves You from Fire Incidents
There are many space heaters options but do not just buy the first product you see. Choose a safer, more accessible product to use that has more safety features. Always consider these safety features while choosing the space heater:
- Tip-Over Protection: tip-over protection is the ability of the space heater to automatically shut off when it is disturbed or accidentally tipped over.
- Overheat Protection: Overheat Protection is another safety measure that allows the space heater to shut off when it detects overheating automatically.
- Heat Resistant Material: modern space heaters are made out of heat resistant material, which makes them more heat repellent, and also, the surface is excellent when touched. This makes them safe to use in the presence of children and pets.
- Certification: Ensure that the space heater you are selecting is tested and certified by a reputable organization. Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Interlink Group (ITL), Canadian Standard Association (CSA) are some of the authentic certifications you should look for.
Proper Use Of Space Heaters For Controlling Fire Incidents
Purchasing a space heater with maximum safety features is not enough. There are also some preventive measures required to ensure the safe working of the space heaters, which are:
- Never use your space heater on the carpet surface, as it can quickly get hot and catch fire. Instead, use them on the wooden or tiled floor.
- Ensure that no flammable object like curtain, pillow, or any other material is in 3 feet range of the space heater as it can quickly get hot and catch fire.
- Make sure to check the electrical cord before powering the space heater.
- Do not use the space heater with the extension wire.
- Do not insert any other appliance in the same power socket as the space heater.
- Ensure to regularly check the space heater and its surroundings for any anomalies.
- If you smell any fire, immediately turn off the space heater and examine it.
- Make sure that your escape route is free from all hurdles and blockage.
- Never leave your space heater unattended.
- Do not sleep after turning on the space heater if you feel it is necessary. Preheat the room and turn it off automatically.
- Do not try to use damaged or malfunctioned space heaters.
By following all these safety measures, you can have a more protective and warm environment.
Space heaters are increasingly popular due to their portability, cost efficiency, and usage in any indoor area. But the user should use these appliances with care because they are the primary cause of house fires and casualties. Under any circumstances, they should not be left unattended. Before using them, there should be a proper check of the wire and heater surface. You need to ensure that they are not in range of any combustible material. When buying a new space heater, always consider the one with the most safety features and do not compromise on mandatory safety features to save just some bucks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What To Do In Case Of Fire?
Despite these safety measures, If the fire is caused by a space heater or any other appliance in the house. Follow these steps:
1: Try to remain calm and examine the situation
2: Use the escape route to get out of the house immediately
3: Try to keep your head near the ground. This way, it will be easier to breathe.
4: Do not stop collecting your money or other valuables.
5: Close the doors of the rooms where there is no one, and close the gates behind you.
6: When opening doors to escape, touch the handle with the back of your hand. If it is hot, try another way because there would be fire on the other side.
7: Reach a safe distance from the house and calm yourself and your family.
What To Do if Someone Is Trapped Inside The House?
1: If someone is trapped inside the building, wait for fire services.
2: Do not go back into the place to rescue someone or something. By going inside, you are just hindering the operations of fire service workers.