Space heaters are notorious for being fire hazards. These devices are built with heating elements, and heating elements can cause a fire. Whether or not to safely leave a space heater on overnight requires a careful evaluation of several factors.
Type of Space Heaters
Each type of space heater works well in ideal surroundings, which means not all space heaters are designed for use in all environments. When choosing a space heater, it is important to use one that will serve its purpose and fulfill the homeowner’s heating needs.
Fuel-burning space heaters are perfect in large spaces. These heaters burn fuel; as a result, carbon dioxide is discharged. An accumulation of carbon dioxide within a closed space is unsafe. Flues are installed to allow gases to escape. Still, these space heaters should not be used in small spaces.
Radiant heaters quickly heat people and the objects within a room. At the same time, if people remain in too close proximity to this type of space heater, burns can occur. Additionally, radiant heaters are a fire hazard when placed near flammable materials.
Convection space heaters distribute warm air via a blower fan. These space heaters produce warm air that rises to the ceiling. Air circulation is promoted as cooler air descends to the floor. Available as either water- or oil-filled heaters or baseboard heaters, they are by far the most efficient.
No matter what type of space heater is ultimately chosen to heat a room, it should be certified by one of three major testing organizations. Safety certifications may be provided by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL), Intertek (ETL), or Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
These testing organizations ensure that safety mechanisms are in place. In order to be safely used, a space heater must be designed with multiple safety features. Automatic shutoff will shut down the heater if internal temperatures become excessive. Overheating and potential fires are avoided.
Tip-over protection is critical if choosing to leave a space heater on overnight. This mechanism automatically shuts off the space heater if it is tipped over. The tip-over protection feature is important when pets or young children are in the home.
A timer is crucial in the event the homeowner chooses to run a space heater overnight. The timer may be set so that once it reaches its designated time frame, it shuts off. Lastly, an adjustable thermostat is a fire safety mechanism that ensures the heater will not run constantly.
Dangers of Overnight Use
Despite being built with a timer and tip-over protection, it is not recommended to leave a space heater on overnight. Space heaters must be monitored at all times. When homeowners are asleep, they are unaware of their surroundings. A space heater could release a spark without anyone noticing.
By turning off the space heater before going to bed, the risk of a fire is ultimately put out. A space heater that is not running will not draw power. Without a power source, the space heater cannot ignite nearby flammable materials and start a house fire.
A homeowner might elect to run the space heater for a portion of the night. Although running the heater unmonitored is not recommended, doing so may be done if the space heater is built with the aforementioned top-quality safety features.
Homeowners should also be aware that running a space heater for several hours overnight could overheat the wiring or circuit. Running an inadequately vented space heater that utilizes gas or oil for long periods will release carbon dioxide and could lead to carbon dioxide poisoning.
Fire risk is possible when using a space heater that is too small for the room, as the heater draws more electricity or fuel. Similarly, a space heater that is too large for a room can cause combustion upon overheating the area.
It is not uncommon for fires to start as a result of running space heaters, whether for a few hours or overnight. In fact, every year in the United States, space heaters are responsible for more than 25,000 residential fires, 1,500 injuries, and at least 300 deaths.
If it is necessary to run the space heater overnight, program the thermostat so that the temperatures do not reach high levels. Ensure the heater does not face fabrics or wood. Also, turn off the space heater when exiting the room.
Electric heaters are the safest type of space heater to use inside a home. If using a non-electric space heater, ensure that the carbon monoxide detector functions. Test the smoke alarm every month, and change the batteries once the lights start to blink or the alarm produces a beeping sound.
Certain electric space heaters may be left unattended for several hours. Many of the safest available electric space heaters feature 1,500-watts, cool-to-touch capabilities, adjustable thermostat, tip-over sensors, heavy-duty particle filters, and efficient heating elements. However, they can be expensive.
When you need to heat a single room rather than the whole house, you may decide to run a space heater. Take ample precautions if it is necessary to run the device overnight. If a fire breaks out, you have the professionals at ServiceMaster Cleaning & Restoration behind you.
Professional Fire Damage Restoration
The flames from a house fire are not the only danger. Soot and smoke are byproducts of fire and can cause a range of damage to building materials and belongings. ServiceMaster technicians provide rapid-fire damage restoration services to prevent the destruction from spreading.
ServiceMaster Cleaning & Restoration specialists also provide water damage restoration services to restore materials that have been drenched during the fire extinguishment. Our services are comprehensive, so homeowners count on us to return the property to its pre-loss condition fast.
Based in Quincy, Illinois, ServiceMaster Cleaning & Restoration responds to local calls for fire damage restoration. We are available on an emergency basis 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Whether your home or business has been destroyed by fire, call us for an immediate professional restoration.