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Space Heater Safety: Prevent Space Heater Fires

Fire Damage
Author: ServiceMaster Restore

When the weather keeps getting colder and it feels impossible to stay warm, a space heater can be your best friend. Portable and convenient, space heaters are popular appliances to heat homes and businesses whenever the temperatures drop – but they can also wreak havoc. Learn space heater safety best practices for your home or business from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore, and stay safe whenever you need extra heat this season.


Heating equipment is the second leading cause of residential fires and fire deaths annually in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). During winter, homeowners light fires, crank up the furnace and pull out the space heaters, creating ample opportunities for accidents to happen. Space heaters can be especially hazardous – the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that space heaters are responsible for 21,800 residential fires and 300 fire-related deaths every year. You can prevent space heater fires – and their tragic outcomes – by observing these simple space heater safety practices whenever you cozy up at home this winter:

  • Never leave space heaters unattended. Turn off and unplug heaters when not in use.
  • Keep heaters at least 3 feet away from any flammable materials, including furniture, blankets and wastebaskets.
  • Do not place space heaters under your desk or in other enclosed areas.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet, not a surge protector.
  • Buy space heaters that include an automatic shutoff.


If you're a business owner, you certainly want your employees to be comfortable at work. Space heaters are popular in offices, warehouses and other working environments, so creating a smart workplace policy on space heaters is critical for everyone's safety on the job. Include the residential best practices above in any workplace space heater safety materials, and use guidelines from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to expand your education and outreach. Here are some essential workplace space heater safety tips:

  • Require that employees get approval before using a heater in their workspace.
  • Require that space heaters and cords be placed out of the way of high-traffic areas.
  • Emphasize the need to turn off space heaters at the end of the work day.
  • Establish minimum standards for permitted heater models, including safety features and independent testing certifications.

At home or on the job, a space heater offers a compact and convenient way to stay cozy when cold weather sets in. Ensure that you, your family members and your coworkers keep aware of common space heater fire hazards and how to avoid them. Simple precautions can go a long way to protecting your home or business from the devastating effects of a heating fire. If an accident does happen, remember that the fire restoration professionals at ServiceMaster Restore are here 24/7/365 to help you get back to normal as soon as possible after a crisis.