The holidays are fast approaching, and with the holidays come snow birds and cooler weather. Even in Florida we have cold snaps…you know, those times when we actually have to put on a sweater? Many Floridians don’t have central heat, especially in older homes. Even those of us who do may figure why turn it on and heat the whole house, because we know that by noon, the sun will probably make us ditch the sweater and switch on the AC anyway.
That’s where space heaters come in. Portable, handy and convenient, but they can also be hazardous. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission tells us that space heaters account for around 25,000 fires a year. So, how do we help minimize space heater hazards?
Most of us know not to use space heaters near curtains or drapes, not to place one on a blanket, or near water or in busy areas near doorways or in hallways where they can easily be knocked over and forgotten in the hustle and bustle of arriving guests…but we at AP Electric have gone to countless homes in Brevard County, and unfortunately we see a few of the same hazards over and over. As your safety is our top concern, here are our top three tips for minimizing your space heater fire risk…
First, never use a space heater with an extension cord. The main reason is that space heaters are like mini ovens and pull a lot of current, and lighter weight extension cords don’t have the ability to carry that load. This can cause the extension cord to get extremely hot, posing a fire risk.
Second, garages and space heaters can make a combustible mix. Gas, kerosene, dust, cobwebs, old clothing, power tools, and just about everything we don’t use in our everyday lives tend to make their way to our garages, and since most of us don’t regularly cool and heat this area, we see the most dangerous use of space heaters here. Just remember that space heaters are literally small furnaces that can combust with fumes or dust in the air.
Finally, we come to the use of space heaters and your Christmas tree. Make a safety zone of at least six feet all the way around the space heater, and leave it at least ten feet back from a tree, as the heat can dry out the needles and make them perfect tinder for a fire. Remember, warm and cozy, not hot and fiery…
From AP Electric’s family to yours, wishing you a safe and happy holiday season..