Using space heaters properly will keep you warm...and safe

November 21, 2022

Cold will be the order of the day (and night) as winter settles in. You may be like a lot of people who supplement their home’s heating system by using space heaters to help battle the chill, but it’s crucial to be very careful when using them.

  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire, such as drapes, bed linens and furniture.
  • Make sure your space heater meets the latest safety standards and carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
  • If you buy a new space heater, purchase one with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts the unit off if it gets knocked over.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Always turn it off and unplug it before you leave the house or go to bed.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • Do NOT use a space heater to warm or dry towels, bed linens or clothing.
  • Do NOT use a space heater near water or anywhere else it could get wet.
  • Do NOT use an extension cord. Always plug space heaters directly into an outlet.
  • Stop using your space heater if the cord or plug gets hot. Space heaters draw quite a bit of electricity during use, meaning cords or plugs may feel warm to the touch, but they should never feel hot.

We also recommend limiting the amount of time you use your space heater. It can significantly increase your energy usage if it’s used for a long period of time.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there are more than 20,000 residential fires every year associated with the use of space heaters. So, remember: safety first when using space heaters.

Visit for more tips to follow when using electricity.