Space Heater Safety Tips When Using a Space Heater

There are two general types of space heaters you can use indoors and outdoors for home heating to help you stay warm during the winter: electric space heaters and propane/kerosene space heaters.

Electric heaters can be used inside or outside with the proper safety precautions. Propane/kerosene heaters are meant for outdoor use only because they give off dangerous carbon monoxide.

When shopping for space heaters, make sure to look for models that include added safety features like auto-shutoff if the heater gets too hot or is accidentally knocked over. Additionally, look for space heating equipment models with remote controls or Wi-Fi features for ease of operation.

How to Set Up Your Space Heater Safely

  • Before you plug in or light your space heater, you will need to ensure you place it on a flat surface with at least three feet of clearing around the entire unit.
  • You should avoid placing the heater near furniture, drapes, patio umbrellas, or anything else that could catch on fire.
  • Never place the heater on top of a table or in high traffic areas, as the risks of fires and burns increase.
  • Make sure the power cord will reach the outlet and not be in a location where it can get stepped on.

Operating Your Space Heater Safely Indoors

Now that you have set up your heater, you need to know how to operate it. Start by reading and reviewing the owner’s manual and operating instructions that came with your heater. Other safety tips include:

  • Plug the electrical cord directly into an electrical outlet or power strip.
  • Never use extension cords with space heaters.
  • Never leave a space heater running unattended. Shut it off when going to bed or leaving home.
  • Never run the heater constantly. It is meant to be used for short periods but not 24/7. 
  • Never leave children unattended around the heater. They may be curious and attempt to touch it and get burned or put something over the heater that could start a fire.
  • Never use space heaters as your primary source of heat.

Operating Your Space Heater Safely Outdoors

Since you can use both electric and propane/kerosene heaters outdoors, we will cover safety tips for each type of heater.

Electric Heaters

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) recommends these safety tips for using an electric heater outdoors:

  • You may use an extension cord when using the heater outdoors. However, you need to make sure it is rated for use with electrical appliances with a single outlet connection.
  • Never use an electric heater when it is raining or snowing, as moisture and electricity do not mix.
  • Electric heaters can be used in enclosed and covered patios and decks, as well as sunrooms.
  • Never leave the heater unattended or running constantly.
  • Always unplug the heater and bring it indoors when not in use to protect it from rain, snow, and moisture.
  • Maintain at least three feet of open space around the heater.

Propane/Kerosene Heaters

Propane/kerosene heaters can be used when it is snowing or raining since they do not use electricity.

  • Shut off the pilot light on propane heaters when you are not using it for an extended period.
  • Make sure there is sufficient ventilation to avoid exposure to carbon monoxide.
  • Never use propane/kerosene heaters in enclosed spaces.
  • It is okay to use propane/kerosene heaters in covered patios and decks. Maintain at least three feet of clearance around the heater and between the ceiling and the top of the heater.
  • Do not leave the heater running unattended.
  • Shut off the heater when going back indoors.
  • When the heater is not in use and fully cooled, it can be stored indoors or covered up to protect it from the elements.

Stay Warm and Safe

Space heaters are great for creating extra heat indoors and outdoors to stay warm in the wintertime. By using these heater safety tips, you can reduce the risks of burns and accidental fires.

If you have a space heater with a remote control and misplaced it or would like an extra remote control, please feel free to browse our space heater remote controls. You can also contact Replacement Remotes today at 855-573-6683 for assistance in selecting the right remote control model to match your heater.