Heater Safety

Even if you haven’t been outside yet today, you probably have realized that winter cold has arrived in earnest. With temperatures expected to fall quickly below freezing shortly after sunset and bottom out in the teens possibly, everyone’s desire for warmth will be priority number one. For those of you that supplement your heat in your home with portable electric heaters, please be careful in their use. Here’s some info from the CPSC on the setup and use of portable heaters that should help in the prevention of injury or wrongful death.

Portable Electric Heaters

The Commission estimates that half the deaths and one-third of the injuries resulting from electric heater fires occurred at night when family members were asleep and the heater unattended. The Commission is also concerned about the use of power or extension cords which can be too small to supply the amount of current required by the typical portable electric heater. You should be able to respond “yes” to the following safety statements.

? ? Yes No
1. The heater is operated at least three feet away from upholstered furniture, drapes, bedding and other combustible materials. ___ ___
2. The extension cord (if used) is marked #14 or #12 American Wire Gauge (AWG). ___ ___
3. The heater is used on the floor. ___ ___
4. The heater is turned off when family members leave the house or are sleeping. ___ ___


  • Operate heater away from combustible materials. Do not place heaters where towels or the like could fall on the appliance and trigger a fire.
  • Avoid using extension cords unless absolutely necessary. If you must use an extension cord with your electric heater, make sure it is marked with a power rating at least as high as that of the heater itself. Keep the cord stretched out. Do not permit the cord to become buried under carpeting or rugs. Do not place anything on top of the cord.
  • Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture or the like. Never use heaters to dry wearing apparel or shoes.

Stay warm tonight and stay safe. Don’t forget to check on neighbors, pets and plants.