A space heater is necessary for some homes during the winter. Make sure you’re using yours safely with these expert tips.

By Hannah Bruneman
Updated December 05, 2019
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On cold, blustery winter nights, we don’t know what we would do without our space heaters. They’re small but powerful enough to make an entire room toasty. However, there are some precautions you should take to avoid a potential disaster or even a house fire.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters are responsible for 43% of all home fires caused by heating equipment. (Other risks involved chimneys, central heating, and water heaters.) Homeowners who have a space heater should be cautious about where and how they use them. We talked with DIY expert and television host Jason Cameron about the safety measures he encourages as a partner with Honeywell Heaters. Read below to see top space heater safety tips you can take to prevent a fire.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

1. Avoid Power Strips

Make sure your space heater is plugged into the wall—not a power strip or an extension cord. This dangerous mistake could cause a house fire, according to a report from CBS News. This is because space heaters use more electricity than power strips are able to handle. The power strip or extension cord could overheat and catch fire. According to Jason, nearly half of Americans are guilty of using power strips or extension cords for their portable heaters!

2. Place Far From Flammable Materials

When deciding on the perfect place to keep your space heater, you might be tempted to slip it behind a chair or up against the wall to reduce visual clutter. According to Jason, this is a serious hazard. “Portable heaters should be at least 3 feet away from flammable items like curtains, bedding or clothing, and nothing should block the heater’s air intake or exhaust source,” he says. Be especially mindful of where you place a space heater in your bedroom where plush fabrics and pillows are plenty.

3. Check for Frayed Wires and Cracks

Before you first plug in your space heater for the winter, examine the cords and plugs. Frayed wires and cracks in the cord’s protective covering are a big red flag. You should also make sure that the plug fits into the outlet snugly.

4. Place it on a Flat Surface

It is safest to place space heaters on a flat surface so they’re less likely to get knocked over. Plush or shag carpet, for example, is not a sturdy surface in high-traffic areas. A side table or wood floor would be a better choice. Also, keep a watch on space heaters if you have pets in the home. A wagging tail could knock a small portable heater on its side.


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