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Space Heater Safety

As the costs of oil and electricity skyrocket due to inflation, you may be tempted to use alternative ways to heat your home this winter. While some people might choose to use their fireplaces, wood stoves, coal stoves and pellet stoves, others might opt for space heaters which can dangerous.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), space heaters are associated with an estimated 21,800 residential fires every year. In addition to those fires, fuel-burning space heaters also have the potential to cause  carbon monoxide poisoning due to improper ventilation, the CPSC reports.

If you do have to use a space heater to keep warm, you should make sure the one you purchase has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory as identified by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association also offer a number of recommendations so that you can stay safe and avoid fires:

Plug space heater directly into outlet

In order to avoid overheating and fires, space heaters should be plugged directly into electrical outlets and never be used with an extension cord or power strip. In addition, you should never plug anything else into the same circuit as the one you are using for your space heater.

Auto shutoff

Select a space heater that has a safety shutoff so if it topples over it will automatically turn off on its own.

Place space heaters on solid surface

Space heaters should always be placed on a solid surface like a hard floor and not on rugs or carpets as they could tip over and start a fire.

Keep away from anything flammable

Anything that can burn, like clothing, bedding and curtains, should be kept at least 3 feet away from a space heater as these materials are flammable.

Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors work

Regardless of whether you’re using a space heater, your home should be equipped with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor. Because some heaters can emit deadly carbon monoxide, having a CO detector will give you peace of mind.

Don’t leave a space heater unattended

Space heaters should always be turned off and unplugged when you leave a room and when you go to bed.

Keep away from children and pets

Because of the potential to tip over and also cause burns, children and pets should be kept away from space heaters to avoid accidents.

Check for signs of malfunction

Never use a space heater with cracked or damaged cords and plugs.

If you are using a gas or kerosene space heater, make sure you use the correct fuel and refuel the heater outside once it has cooled down. The CPSC also recommends that you have your heater inspected annually.

We hope you found these tips helpful as you stay warm this winter! To ensure you get the right coverage for your home, talk to an independent agent in your state or get a fast, free quote today in Massachusetts to see how much you could save!

Please Note: This content is not intended to describe any specific coverage offered by MAPFRE Insurance. No coverage is provided, bound or guaranteed by this article. Available coverages, credits and discounts vary from state to state and are subject to eligibility criteria and policy terms/conditions, which will control in the event of conflict between this article and your insurance policy. For information about your policy, please review your individual policy contract and speak with your insurance representative.

MAPFRE Insurance® is a brand and service mark of MAPFRE U.S.A. Corp. and its affiliates, including American Commerce Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 4928-8), Citation Insurance CompanySM, The Commerce Insurance CompanySM, Commerce West Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 1372-2), MAPFRE Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 3039-5), and MAPFRE Insurance Company of FloridaSM.


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