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Video: Warm up to space heater safety

January 10, 2023 | Laura King-Homan | safety, tips
space heater safety

When there’s a particularly bitter chill in the air during winter months, homeowners sometimes turn to portable heaters to add some extra warmth to their homes.

Using a space heater, and following tips for preparing your home for winter, can help improve your energy efficiency and lower your power bill.

If you use a space heater, be vigilant about using them safely.

From 2015-2019, heating equipment was involved in an annual average of 45,800 reported home structure fires in the United States. These fires resulted in 480 deaths, 1,350 injuries and more than $1 billion in property damage per year, according to National Fire Protection Association. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires are associated with space heaters. An estimated 6,000 people receive care in hospital emergency rooms for burn injuries associated with space heaters.


Follow these space heater safety tips to ensure you don’t become a statistic:

  • Select a space heater with a guard around the heating element. This will help keep children, pets and clothing away from the heat source.
  • When selecting a space heater, look for a model that has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters meet specific space heater safety standards. Manufacturers must provide important use and care information to consumers.
  • Buy a heater that is the correct size for the area you want to heat.
  • Show everyone in your home how to use the heater properly.
  • Never leave a space heater running when you go to sleep or leave the area. With fuel-fired heaters, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can accumulate or unmonitored burning could cause a fire.
  • Note that mobile homes require specially designed heating equipment. Only use electric or vented fuel-fired heaters.

This article contains information and tips from the U.S. Department of Energy.

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About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is the supervisor, Brand and Communication Operations, at Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Laura King-Homan >

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