Are you using these space heater safety tips?

Prevent House Fires using these space heater safety tips

As winter draws near you might want to take out your little space heater to take the chill out of the morning air.

Well, STOP. Don’t do anything until you read this first.


Did you know that 25,000 residential fires are started every year because of the use of space heaters?

Sadly, 300 deaths occur annually.

Another, 6,000 people are rushed to the hospital emergency room to treat burns associated with touching hot room heaters. Believe it or not, these burns occurred in regular day to day life without any house fire.

Now you can see why that safety should be your top consideration when using space heaters.

In a previous article we discussed safety tips to prevent fires from stoves. While some of these tips may be similar, you will find there are many tips that pertain only to space heaters.

First lets discuss the different types of space heaters

Space heaters come in two different types:

  • Fuel combustion (oil, kerosene, etc)
  • Electric

Lets take these one at a time.

Fuel Combustion Space Heaters

Did you know that there are two different kinds of fuel combustion space heaters?

  • Vented
  • Vent-Free

How do you know which one you have?

Read the instructions carefully!

A vented heater will have a duct that comes out of the back or top to vent the heater outside.

Please remember, it is illegal to use a non vented fuel combustion space heater in your home.


The by-product of combustion is smoke and carbon monoxide which can both can kill you!

Vent free combustion heaters can only be used out doors.

Safety tips for using fuel combustion space heaters

  • Make sure it has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory
  • Never use gasoline in a space heater
  • Teach all family members how to use the heater safely
  • Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or leave the  house
  • Make sure it is on a flat even surface so it can’t tip over
  • Keep a window open to provide plenty of fresh air
  • Keep these away from combustible items

Electric space heaters

  • Make sure the power cord is a minimum of  # 14 or a 12 gauge wire. 
  • Never, ever use an extension cord on a heater. Otherwise a fire could start in your home.
  • Make sure your heater has a built in tip-over switch, touch sensor, and overheat protection. Why is this important? 
  • These safety features will automatically turn off the heater if it’s knocked over, if the grille is touched, or if the unit overheats
  • Teach all family members how to use the heater safely
  • Never leave it on when you leave the house
  • Make sure it is on a flat even surface so it can’t tip over.
  • Keep these away from combustible items

In conclusion, these heaters can be great ways to supplement your homes heating system.

Please be careful.

Use the fire safety tips and suggestions to keep your family and home safe and secure.

Remember, the penalty to ignore these tips could even cost a life.

Your local InsuranceHub agent is happy to help answer all your questions about fire insurance for your home.