MEMBER SERVICES Q&A: Space heaters


   Q: I’m using my space heater a lot this time of year. I know that it is intended to only heat one room and not my entire house, but what are some other safety precautions I need to know about these heaters?

    A: While we all like to stay toasty when it’s cold outside, it’s important to be cautious when using space heaters.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that space heaters were the cause, or partial cause, of 1,200 fires a year between 2008 and 2010. To keep you and your family safe this winter, make sure you check all cords for cracks, frayed wires and damaged insulation before using — never use a space heater with a damaged cord.
    Place your space heater on a level surface away from foot traffic and at least three feet from combustible or flammable household items. Keep your electric space heater away from water and never touch an electric heater if you are wet. Also ensure that your space heater has met safety standards and bears the UL mark from Underwriters Laboratories, the ETL mark from Intertek or the CSA International certification.
It’s a good idea to keep any heaters you are using within eyesight — never leave a space heater unattended or in use while you are sleeping.
    If you’re in the market for a new space heater, look for one with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically turns off the heater if it is knocked over.
— Tanya Clopton, member service representative

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