The heating season is upon us again, and with fuel prices continuing to climb, many households turn to space heaters to keep the temperature tolerable without breaking the bank. However, space heaters require more attention and responsibility to operate than a furnace or boiler. It is estimated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that space heaters are associated with more than 25,000 residential fires every year. These fires result in more than 300 deaths. Additionally, approximately 6,000 people receive emergency room care for burn injuries associated with contacting the hot surfaces of space heaters, mostly in non-fire situations.
Different models of space heaters burn different fuels, including wood, kerosene, and gas. Each have their own safety rules, including the most popular model of space heater: electric.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers these general guidelines for space heater use:
* Select a space heater with a guard around the flame area or the heating element. This will help keep children, pets and clothing away from the heat source.
* When selecting a heater, look for one that has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have been determined to meet specific safety standards, and manufacturers are required to provide important use and care information to the consumer.
* Buy a heater that is the correct size for the area you want to heat. The wrong size heater could produce more pollutants and may not be an efficient use of energy.
* Read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions. A good practice is to read aloud the instructions and warning labels to all members of the household to be certain that everyone understands how to operate the heater safely. Keep the owner’s manual in a convenient place to refer to when needed.
* Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Some heaters have very hot surfaces. Children should not be permitted to either adjust the controls or move the heater.
* Keep doors open to the rest of the house if you are using an unvented fuel-burning space heater. This helps to prevent pollutant build-up and promotes proper combustion. Even vented heaters require ventilation for proper combustion.
* Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or leave the area. For fuel-fired heaters, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide could accumulate or uncontrolled burning could cause a fire.
* Never use or store flammable liquids (such as gasoline) around a space heater. The flammable vapors can flow from one part of the room to another and be ignited by the open flame or by an electrical spark.
* Be aware that mobile homes require specially designed heating equipment. Only electric or vented fuel-fired heaters should be used.
* Place heaters at least three feet away from objects such as bedding, furniture and drapes. Never use heaters to dry clothes or shoes. Do not place heaters where towels or other objects could fall on the heater and start a fire.
Be sure to follow these suggestions for a safe, warm winter. Product accidents, such as those that can happen with a space heater, are not always the fault of the user. If you or a loved one has suffered injury, illness, death, or property damage in connection with the use of a hazardous or faulty product, call VanDerGinst Law at 1-866-843-7367 or click here for a FREE online case evaluation. The initial consultation is free of charge. If we agree to handle your injury case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if, and when, there is a money recovery for you. In many cases a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. So please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.