When it’s freezing outside, many rely on space heaters to keep them warm and toasty inside their homes. While space heaters are essential in the winter, you can’t be too careful when using them. Thousands of space heater-related fires occur yearly, leading to an average of 150 injuries and 65 fatalities.

Aside from house fires, fuel-burning space heaters are also a common cause of carbon monoxide poisoning. The consequences can be fatal if you use a space heater in an unvented place in your home. Here are some safety tips when it comes to using space heaters in your home and/or office:

Buy Indoor Space Heaters

Before bringing a space heater into your home, check that it’s for indoor use. Electric heaters are the only unvented type you can safely use inside. As for permanently vented wood and gas stoves, proper installation is crucial so harmful gasses can escape. Unvented fuel-burning space heaters are strictly for the outdoors only.

When choosing a model, look for a safety certification label. Ideally, it should be from a nationally recognized testing laboratory. In addition, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid mishaps.

Set It Up Properly

Dedicate one of your wall outlets to your space heater. It’s risky business to plug it into an extension cord, as it can overheat and lead to a house fire.

It’s also crucial to find a flat and stable surface for your space heater away from other things. The leading cause of space heater-related fires is putting it near flammable objects. Allocate at least three feet between your space heater and the couch, curtains, and decor.

Finally, never place a space heater in a spot where children and pets can reach. Unfortunately, space heaters are a common culprit behind burns on children. If you have cats, you know they can access almost anything. Place a ventilated barrier around your space heater to prevent accidents.

Never Leave It Unattended

As you’re doing chores around the house, it can be tempting to let the space heater run so you can return to a warm room. But taking your eyes off it can be catastrophic for your home. We all know we shouldn’t leave a burning candle unattended. In the same way, never let your space heater run if you’re not there to watch it. Turn it off if you’re leaving the room or going to sleep.

Equip Your Home with a Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

No matter how careful you are, disaster can still strike. You might be unaware that your space heater is slowly filling your home with poisonous carbon monoxide. It’s hard to detect carbon monoxide because it’s colorless and odorless.

You can stay alert by having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. They’ll warn you when something’s wrong. Install one outside each bedroom on every floor. Check these devices monthly to ensure they’re working, and change their batteries regularly.

Check for Signs of Malfunction

New space heaters have safety features that shut down the system when something is amiss. Unfortunately, older models don’t have that. It’s up to the owner to figure out when parts are malfunctioning. If you have a fuel-burning space heater, pay attention to its flames. They should be blue. If they ever turn orange, it’s not functioning as it should, and you should turn it off.

Contact a Lawyer for Space Heater Injuries

Homeowners must take all precautionary measures when using a space heater. But caution can only protect you so much from a defective unit. Our injury lawyers can come to your aid if you or a family member has suffered burns from a faulty space heater. We’ll hold the manufacturer responsible and protect your rights. For more information, contact Friedman Law Offices at +1 800-876-1093.