Electric Heaters: Be Warm, But Be Safe

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Portable electric heaters can take the chill out of a cold room, but are less efficient than other heating sources while causing  your electricity bill to spike. They can be dangerous, even deadly, without the right handling, heaters causing nearly 22 percent of all residential fires (source: Consumer Product Safety Commission.)

Portable electric heaters that heat by circulating oil or water are the safest because of their lower surface temperature. The following safety precautions will help keep you and your family safe.

Space Heater Safety Tips

  • Keep children and pets away from heaters
  • Choose a heater that turns off or sounds an alarm if it is tipped over
  • Place heaters at least three feet away from furniture and drapes, and always keep them away from water
  • Do not put objects on top of a heater or close to the heating coil
  • Do not overload electric circuits – electric heaters compose a large load on a circuit
  • Do not leave portable space heaters on when you are not going to be home or when you are sleeping
  • Do not use an extension cord with an electric heater
  • Be certain that your heater is placed on a level, hard, non-flammable floor surface (not on rugs or carpets)
  • Don't place portable heating units in high-traffic areas, such as hallways or on staircases
For statistics and more detailed information, download the CPC Space Heaters Fact Sheet
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