5 Ways to Be Careful with Electric Heaters
The winter time is the coldest time of the year, and it means you need to stay warm if you want to survive. In our haste to get the temperature up though, we tend to forget safety precautions and fail to realize that they are there for a reason. While this article might seem like common sense to many people, let’s not forget that there are many fires now of the year, and many of them are related to portable heaters.
Not all houses are equipped with central heat, or built in heaters. Some have radial heaters that sit on the floor and heat up through the gas pipes. And many people rely on a portable room heater which runs on electricity or oil. These are convenient and energy efficient which makes them highly sought after during the winter time. If used incorrectly though they can lead to a fire, and since it usually happens when you are asleep, it could be very dangerous. Here are some things to consider when you are purchasing a portable heater, and how to use it.
The biggest thing people do in the winter is overload their outlets. Whether it is with lights and decorations or guests plugging in all their devices, a heater can be an extra strain on that outlet. These outlets that are placed in homes and apartments are only designed to hold two devices, and while extra plugs can be added, it can overload the system if all those devices are on at once. This can short out the power which shuts it off in the entire place, or part of it, and you will need to either reset the fuse or replace it.
It can also create a spark which could than start a fire. That fire could spark at any time the device is on, so turning it on in the middle of the night can be a problem. The other problems with the outlets is that they are designed to only put out so much power. If your heater uses a higher voltage or watts than is recommended it could cause the outlet to heat up, which could also start a fire.
Types of Heaters to Avoid
There are basically two types of heaters to avoid, especially if you are not as familiar with their use. Oil based heaters are one, and any heater that was not made to work in the country you are living in. Any heater that doesn’t contain an auto cutoff when it is tilted at a certain angle should be avoided as well.
The auto-cutoff is designed to work if the heater is tilted at a certain angle. So, if it is set on the floor and something hits it, knocking it over, it doesn’t continue to run. It’s a safety feature that is designed in most electrical heaters these days.
Heaters that are designed for another country use a different type of outlet and sometimes more power than the ones where you live. Be sure you are familiar with the type of outlet and converter needed, to safely use this type of heater.
Oil based heaters can be scary and are rarely seen on the market in big cities any more. In some places they are banned altogether. This is a heater that uses oil to heat up and cool down. It needs to be filled or it won’t work properly. That oil can ignite a fire which makes them volatile, especially if they tilt. Avoid these type of heaters at all costs.
The next cause for concern when it comes to heaters is where to place them. An electric heater is usually a room heater and only designed to heat up a small room. While they can warm up a larger room, it will take longer and not be as efficient. Placing the heater in the right area is crucial to heating up the room faster. As heat rises most people think you want to place the heater on the floor. And even on some of the boxes it will say to have it on the floor. For the best results though you want to place it on a small table in a corner so that the air blows outward from that corner. This is efficient in heating the room up the fastest. And this works in any room that you want to put it in too.
Be sure that people are aware that the heater is there, and that it is turned off when it is not in use. In a business setting, having it on the counter might be counter-productive to business, so placing it on a floor that is not carpeted is the best option.
What to Look for in a Heater
Safety should be your first concern when it comes to choosing a heater. Stick to the name brands in case there is a problem, so you will know who to go to in order to get it fixed. Choose a heater that has an oscillating feature for the best results. This is a heater that turns like a fan and blows the hot air throughout the room. It works well to heat up and keep the heat throughout the room, rather than in just one location only.
The tilt cutoff feature is one I highly recommend for safety too. Especially in a kid’s room where the kids might play or move around at night, and essential if there are pets in the house. Another great feature is a temperature control so that you can set the desired heat level and it will turn off until the room cools down a bit, before turning back on again.
Room Size Makes a Difference
As discussed earlier the size of the room will make a difference in the size of the heater you need, and how quickly it will affect the room. Be sure and check the box, but any heater that is 12 inches or smaller will work in a bedroom or bathroom. For any room larger than that you will need a larger heater.