Be Wary of Space Heaters!
A space heater sounds like a product sent from heaven. It is portable, usually small, occupies a small amount of space, and it heats any area you desire. You can place it anywhere, from under your desk to the bathroom on a cold morning. There are a great variety of space heaters: heater fans, ceramic heaters, radiant heaters, and convection heaters. Heater fans are fast and blow heat throughout the room.
Similar to heater fans, ceramic fans are very efficient, but they use heat created by the resistance to electrical flow in the ceramic, also known as the ceramic heating element, to warm the room.
Radiant heaters are small, produce heat, and warm up certain areas or objects; they are silent while performing the task. Similar to radiant heaters, convection heaters are small and are relatively silent. However, the two differ in purposes, convection heaters warm entire rooms while radiant heaters are limited to one area (1). Radiant heaters are the quick and easy way to warm up and convection heaters take longer and warm larger areas.
Space heaters are often employed by families looking to save money on heating costs, and for that, they are great! But if you’re going to use space heaters at home, be aware of the potential danger they pose.
Space heaters have been known to put consumers in danger and harm the environment. According a study conducted by the National Fire Protection Association, “heating equipment was involved in an estimated 57,100 reported U.S. home structure fires.” These reports include 490 deaths and 1,530 injuries (2). If space heaters are not used with caution, they can cause fires. That’s a grave price to pay for some extra heat. Furthermore, the space heater must be properly ventilated. If not, the heater can release carbon monoxide (3). Only fuel heaters pose a threat of carbon monoxide, though; space heaters that use electricity are fairly safe. Carbon monoxide is a lethal gas; it can cause illness or possibly death. Along with being lethal to the consumer, carbon monoxide is a greenhouse gas and it can damage the environment. Although these are severe risks, they can be easily prevented with proper care and usage.
Some precautions to take to avoid the risk of fire or carbon monoxide emission are:
- Keep the area properly ventilated
- Keep a 3 ft. area around the heater clear of clutter
- Keep the heater away from flammable objects, including, furniture, carpet, drapes, etc.
- Keep the heater clean of built up dust
- Turn it off while it is not being used or if no one is in the room.
- Keep away from children and pets as they might knock it over.
Author: Hamza Shahid
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