Are Space Heaters Dangerous?

propane, portable heater on floor

The advantages and disadvantages of using space heaters. (Photo Credits)

Space heaters can be very efficient when it comes to providing much needed warmth during an otherwise cold, cold winter. But are these contraptions a big help, or a huge risk?

Winterizing the HVAC System

The National Fire Protection Association came up with an article warning homeowners about space heaters, and encouraging them to use it following set safety standards. Plumbing Association of San Diego

“Based on 2011-2015 annual averages: (1) Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for just over two of every five (43%) of home heating fires and four out of five (85%) of home heating fire deaths. (2) The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (28%) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys. (3) Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, was the third leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for more than half (53%) of home heating fire deaths.”

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The complete statistics and article can be found here.

How can it be dangerous

The website DIYNetwork tried to explain how space heaters work, and why they could potentially be a safety hazard. A/C And HVAC

“Space heaters heat you and the room they occupy in two ways: through radiant heat and convection. Radiant heat is like the warmth you feel when sunlight hits your skin. The closer you are to the space heater, the more of the radiant warmth you’ll feel. Convection happens when air surrounding the heater is heated. That hot air rises toward the ceiling, pulling surrounding cool air toward the heater, where that air is heated and also begins to rise. Air at the ceiling then begins to cool and fall, until it’s drawn toward the heater once again. This is called a convection loop and, while air toward the ceiling will tend to feel warmer, the convective loop will eventually help to heat the whole room. A heater with an integrated fan will naturally spread more of the heat farther from the heater than relying on convection alone, warming a room more evenly and quickly.”

The rest of the post can be read from here.

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The website Parents also called the attention of its readers on the possible dangers of space heaters, especially for families with young children.

“But space heaters are far from safe. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 1999 and 2002 there were nearly 10,000 residential fires in the U.S. associated with space heaters each year. It’s not just the fires that make them dangerous: Every year more than 5,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for burns from coming in contact with space heaters.”

Read the rest of their advice here.

Space heaters can be helpful, but it is important to properly know how to safely use this product.

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