The Dangers of Space Heaters
With winter upon us, it isn't out of the question that some people may resort to firing up the space heater to remain warm. Though these devices can help alleviate the cold and take the chill out of the air, they are also the cause of many fires throughout the country. According to the National Fire Protection Association, one-third of all winter house fires are caused by space heaters. Space heaters are also to blame for 80% of all winter heating fire deaths. (http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/causes/heating)
When purchasing your next space heater, you should look for certain safety features that should be commonly found.
It is certainly a risk to run a space heater for hours upon hours. If you must, make sure you have it set to shut off after a specific period of time. Many space heaters give multiple options with slim flexibility (1, 2, or 4 hours) up to great flexibility (every 30 minute interval for up to 8 hours). Regardless of your option, make sure that you are in the room with the heater at all times and fully aware of its presence. If you can avoid it, do not fall asleep with your space heater on all night.
Ambient Temperature Sensor
Much like most modern air conditioners, there are many models of space heaters that have sensors to detect the air temperature around the device. This allows you to set a specific tempterature and allow the heater to turn on and off to accomodate your selection. Typically, the heater will run until it hits your set temperature and power down until it senses the air temperature to be 1 or 2 degrees lower than what you have selected. At that time, it will power on again and continue the cycle.
Anti-Tipping Pressure Plate
If you have pets or children, you run the risk of having your space heater knocked over. If this happens, it could land on either a carpet or other combustable element. Over a short period of time, the area will begin to heat up and a fire may break out shortly after. With an anti-tipping pressure plate located on the bottom of the heater, it will cut power to the device if the pressure plate is ever disengaged.
These are just 3 safety features you should look for when purchasing your next space heater. There are many options out there, but make sure you find one that will keep your home, yourself, and your family safe. Saving a few bucks now could cost you much more in the future.