All heaters are dangerous if not used properly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, most home-heating fires involve portable or "space" heaters, so electric heaters must be selected and used with care.
- Choose models with automatic safety switches that turn off the unit if it is tipped over accidentally.
- Always look for a label or tab indicating the heater has been tested/approved by a recognized independent testing lab.
Portable electric heaters are for temporary use only during power outages or repairs to the main heating unit, and not as permanent supplements to your main heating unit.
If you are going to use portable electric heaters, please make sure that you:
- Check the cord before plugging in the heater; if frayed, worn or broken, do not use it. Either have an electrician replace the cord or replace the heater. Simply putting tape on the cord is not enough to prevent overheating and fire.
- Never use an extension cord with a portable heater.
- Keep portable electric heaters away from sinks, tubs, and other wet or damp places to avoid deadly electric shocks.
- Keep any portable heater at least three feet away from curtains, newspapers, or anything that might burn.
- Never leave the heater unattended and never leave the house or go to bed without turning off the heater. Do not hang items to dry above the heater.
- Keep all heaters out of high traffic and exit areas.