Space Heater Safety Vital As Temperatures Drop
The numbers don’t lie. With more than 65,000 house fires attributed to heating equipment each year, it’s no wonder why heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. The main culprit; space heaters.
Small space heaters are typically used when the main heating system is inadequate or when central heating is too costly to install or operate.
When considering purchasing and using an item such as a space heater, it is important to be cautious, and consider the potential hazard first.
Common Injuries By Space Heater
House fires caused by space heaters are responsible for more than 300 deaths a year, in addition to an estimated 6,000 hospital emergency room visits for burn injuries.
Burns: Thermal burns are burns to the skin caused by an external heat source. The type of burn and the severity of the burn depends on the number of layers of skin affected. When it comes to space heaters, the location of the heating coil matters, especially if you have children or pets. If you can, try to choose a space heater with a stand that doesn’t get hot, or place it on top of a floor protector. It may also be wise to install a gate or guard around the heater to keep children safe.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Appliances fueled with gas, oil, kerosene, or wood may produce CO. If such appliances are not installed, maintained, and used properly, CO may accumulate to dangerous and even deadly levels in cars, homes, or poorly ventilated areas. The majority of space heaters today are electric, but some models still use fuel to keep the heat going. If you have one that uses fuel, make sure fumes are properly vented outside. Those kinds of heaters produce carbon monoxide and there is a chance this gas can become hazardous to your family. To be safe, when using a fuel-operated space heater you should also ensure all carbon monoxide detectors are installed and functioning properly.
According to Lorraine Carli, Vice President of Communications at the National Fire Prevention Association, half of fatal home space heater fires started because something was too close to the heater and ignited. She encourages all users to keep heaters and items that can catch fire at least three feet apart.
Heating fires and the deaths they cause can usually be prevented with awareness and a few simple actions:
Look For Safety Certifications: Portable space heaters that are listed by Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs) have been tested, proven, and certified to meet specific safety standards. The manufacturers of these heaters are also required to provide important information about the safe usage and care of their products.
Also, look for specific safety features that will shut the unit off under certain conditions. These can include:
Low oxygen levels (oxygen depletion sensor)
Touch sensor (if the grill is touched)
Size Really Does Matter: Select a heater of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase oversized heaters. Most heaters come with a general sizing table.
Regularly Inspect and Maintain Your Purchase: Frequently clean and maintain your space heater to ensure it’s working safely. Wiping yours down will also help reduce the amount of dust and allergens that may be dispersed around your space. Of course, never use a defective heater.
Watch For Recalls: The government-run Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) monitors product recalls issued by companies and helps facilitate the circulation of the needed information to the public. According to the information available through the CPSC, almost every year recalls of a few types of space heaters have been recorded, most often for a possible fire hazard, burn hazard or scald hazard.
If your space heater is defective, no warnings or precautions will be enough to prevent disaster through proper use. If you’re injured by a defective heater, the lawyers at The Carlson Law Firm can help.
How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
If you’ve been injured due to a defective space heater, our team of burn injury lawyers has the experience required to help you. We will protect your rights by pursuing the manufacturer’s liability.
Contact The Carlson Law firm by phone or online to schedule your free consultation. We don’t collect a penny unless we’re successful in recovering the compensation to which you’re entitled.
- Written by Jill Fowler