Fusion Electric Blog

Are Electric Space Heaters Dangerous?

red hot space heaterWinter is fast approaching and one popular thing we are starting to notice is that many people are purchasing electric space heaters or mini electrical fireplaces in an effort to save energy.

Did you know that space heaters pose a serious fire danger?

The U.S. Consumer Safety Commission estimates that approximately 25,000 house fires occur every year from space heaters. These fires have resulted in about 300 deaths and have caused thousands emergency room visits for third-degree burns.

For your safety, we’ve put together these quick tips on how to safely use an electric space heater:

  • Use a Dedicated Circuit

Electric space heaters can trip your home’s circuit breaker when plugged into a power outlet. This happens when the electric space heater’s energy exceeds the capacity of your home’s electric wire. The electrical overload can cause your home’s main electrical panel to shut down and trip the circuit to cut the power to the outlet where the space heater is plugged in.

If you are going to use an electric space heater, you should have a dedicated circuit installed to safely operate your space heater. Most electric space heaters consume upward of 1,000 watts and require a dedicated circuit to run safely.

  • Don’t Use Extension Cords

Avoid using extension cords to plug in a space heater. Anything that uses resistance to create heat (iron, hair dryer) uses a lot of power causing an extension cord to overheat and may catch on fire If you must use an extension cord, opt to use the shortest possible, heavy-duty cord, 14-gauge wire or larger.

  • Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

Place the space heater away from flammable surfaces such as curtains, blankets, couches, chairs, or other combustible material. If it can catch on fire, it will. An important rule to live by when using a space heater is the three-foot rule, no matter where you are using your space heater always keep it three feet away from anything flammable.

  • Operation Time

Avoid leaving your space heater running for too long. Not only will you reduce the lifetime of your space heater, but you will end up paying more money in the long run. Another rule of thumb is that  you should never let your space heater run throughout the night or leave it on if you are not home.

  • Tip-Over Switch

Buy an electric space heater that has a tip-over safety switch. A tip-over safety switch automatically turns the unit off if it gets knocked over. Accidents will always happen, and fires can start quickly. The tip-over safety switch is perfect for families with pets and small children.

If you are planning to use a space heater this winter and would like to have a dedicated circuit installed, call Fusion Electric at (913) 648-9487. We’re here to answer all of your electrical concerns.