One of your most important winter priorities is keeping your home safe and warm for your family. Even the most reliable furnace can leave some rooms feeling a little cold. It can also be difficult to suddenly balance the expensive monthly utility bills on top of your other seasonal costs.
Many households turn to space heaters to provide that extra boost of heat. These devices are small, portable and convenient, allowing you to heat individual bedrooms or living areas. It’s vital to know how to safely use your space heater to minimize any potential fire hazards or health risks.
Types of Space Heaters
There are several types of space heaters to choose from. Portable space heaters are the most common types used in residential homes. They usually use electricity and will heat your home with convection or infrared heat.
Radiant space heaters are available in both outdoor and indoor models and can even be found shaped like fireplaces. They produce radiant heat using infrared waves to heat you directly rather than the air in your home.
Oil-filled space heaters utilize thermal convection. Oil is dispersed through the unit to provide a thorough, clean-burning warmth. These devices are typically safer than those that use kerosene or propane. All of these space heaters are safe for residential use as long as they’re properly cared for and maintained.
There are also a variety of outdoor space heaters that can be used to heat your back patio or garage. All heaters that use carbon-based fuels should only be used outside. Attempting to run them inside can introduce lethal amounts of carbon monoxide into your breathing air.
Invest in Safety Features
Reliable and tested space heaters are often certified by recognized testing laboratories. Check the manufacturing information for warranty data and safety statistics. Higher-quality models come with warranties that can cover repair costs or potential replacement fees. Don’t forget to look for heaters with state-of-the-art fire prevention features.
Many companies offer models with automatic shut-off capabilities. This means that if your space heater is knocked over by a pet or child, it will immediately turn off. You’ll no longer have to worry about scorched rugs or curtains. Other brands utilize overheat detection features and timers.
Some heaters have a thermostat built in to keep the device from getting too hot. Timers allow you to personalize your comfort needs without risking your property or your family’s well-being. Modern space heater options even come with smart capabilities and convenient remotes.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about choosing the right size space heater for your living space. Most space heaters have a 1,500-watt rating, which is enough to heat most of the rooms in your home. If you’re looking to heat a smaller area, you can search for heaters with a lower wattage.
Safety Tips for Space Heaters
Space heaters use up a lot of electricity as they warm your home. You should never attempt to plug this device into a power strip or surge protector. All space heaters should be plugged directly into the wall. A loose connection can quickly become a fire hazard. There’s even the possibility that the power strip may malfunction as the excessive energy flows through it.
Avoid placing your space heater on an elevated surface like a chair, table or shelf. While this may seem to increase the spread of heat in a room, no surface is completely reliable. A pet can easily knock into it or jostle the cord, sending it tumbling to the ground. There’s also the risk that the table or chair could get too warm and catch on fire.
Be sure to provide at least three feet of clearance around the entire device. It shouldn’t be too close to furniture, tables, curtains or even the walls. Bedrooms and living rooms are some of the most common places for accidental home fires. It only takes a few minutes for an errant blanket or pillow to go up in flames. Keeping your space heater too close to your couch and bed isn’t worth that few degrees of extra heat.
Install at least one fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector on every floor. You should also have alarms near your sleeping areas, garage, kitchen and furnace. Regularly test your alarms every week and switch out the batteries every six months. Your family spends a lot of time in the home during the winter months, making a carbon monoxide issue deadlier than ever.
When getting your old space heater out of storage, thoroughly examine every component and wire. Check for loose screws, external damage, frayed connections and odd smells. If you find any new signs of damage, replace the space heater with a new model. A compromised heater is more likely to malfunction and potentially start a fire.
Space heaters should never be left unattended. Avoid leaving your heater on when you leave the room or go to bed. An accidental electrical shortage or system malfunction could seriously damage your belongings. When your space heater is not in use, unplug it and store it in a dry, temperature-controlled area.
Finally, don’t use your space heater for any other purpose other than to warm your home. These devices are not meant to dry your clothes, cook food or thaw your pipes. Avoid draping your blankets on or around them as this can cause a fire. Using your space incorrectly increases your risk of a home emergency. It can also void any repair or replacement warranty associated with the device.
Importance of Heat Pumps
Utilizing space heaters is a great way to complement your main heating system. Keep in mind these heaters shouldn’t be used as your sole source of heat. They don’t produce enough warmth to keep you and your home safe and comfortable. Buying several heaters will likely cost you more than using your heat pump. You’ll also be at a higher risk for fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Lower your energy bills this winter by scheduling an expert heat pump tune-up. If your heating costs are skyrocketing, your heat pump is likely not functioning efficiently. Regular maintenance at least twice a year will lower your costs and prolong the lifespan of your system.
Professional maintenance is an investment in your home’s comfort and safety. Service is especially important for systems older than 10 years that may be struggling with outdated parts and minor structural damage. Schedule your maintenance appointment today to see a huge difference in your temperature control and energy consumption.
Top HVAC Service in Jacksonville
Buehler Air Conditioning is a top-tier heating and cooling company in Jacksonville, FL. We’re a locally owned business that’s been committed to providing exceptional customer service since 2010. We’re EPA-certified, offer Energy Star products. Our company maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Count on our expert team to repair, replace and maintain your heating and cooling systems. We can also clean your ductwork, replace your thermostat and provide indoor air quality solutions. Contact Buehler Air Conditioning today to schedule your premium heating service appointment in Jacksonville.