Space Heater Safety

  • Keep space heaters away from water. Water and electricity do not mix, period.
  • Keep your space heater on the floor. Manufacturers recommend placing it on the flattest, smoothest surface available. Avoid carpets and rugs. Do not tilt it or prop it up. Keep it off furniture and beds.
  • Never leave your space heater unattended. Do not use while sleeping or while you are not at home. Never leave young children alone in a room with a space heater running.
  • Avoid placing your space heater near flammable objects. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says to avoid placing your space heater within 3 feet of anything flammable, including curtains, rugs, furniture, bedding, paperwork, and pillows.
  • Use a wall outlet. Manufacturers advise against plugging space heaters into surge protectors, extension cords, timers, GFCI outlets, anything that is not a wall outlet. These added layers of electrical connection can overload the circuit or create additional resistance that allows heat to build up.

According to the CPSC, an estimated 25,000 residential fires are associated with the use of space heaters every year, causing more than 300 deaths and 6,000 trips to the emergency room. Do not become a statistic. Take these precautions when using your space heater.

For more space heater safety tips, go to the Department of Energy website.