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  • Writer's pictureKennedy Air Conditioning

The Dangers of Using Electric Heaters


During cold weather, many people enjoy using electric space heaters in their home to stay warm . However, data has shown that these devices have the potential to be very dangerous if not used with the proper care. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 25,000 fires and 300 deaths each year are caused by electric heaters.

Most households have other large appliances such as gas or electric ovens or furnaces that have exposed heating elements and emit lots of heat. So why is it that electric space heaters appear to be much more dangerous? Perhaps it is because these devices are portable and therefore more likely to be placed in a precarious position. In years past, and in response to data on house fires caused by space heaters, the National Fire Protection Association has released public advisories that most fires involving portable electric heaters resulted from the heater being placed too close to a flammable item.

Most importantly, electric heaters must be placed in a safe location. This is mainly common sense—don’t place portable heaters on rugs or carpet or anywhere near furniture, curtains, blankets, etc.—basically anything that could potentially catch fire if exposed to heat. It’s generally best to keep at least a 3-foot clear zone around your heater. Also, never leave an electric heater on unattended!

Electrocution is also a risk with electric heaters. After all, most of these heaters require a AC outlet for power, and use metal coils to heat the surrounding air. It is extremely important to avoid touching the coils and other metal parts directly, especially if your hands are wet. Also, make sure to keep the unit away from sources of water, like sinks, bath tubs, and doors and windows where water may enter from outside.

Defective heating devices are certainly very dangerous. If you’re using an electric heater you already own, check it regularly to make sure there is no damage to the cords and other components of the device. If you are buying a new space heater, check for the “UL” label on the bottom of the device (it should be on the packaging as well). This label indicates the device is listed on the Underwriters Laboratory product registry, the “most accepted Certification Mark in the United States.” ( ) Never purchase an electronic device without this label!

Because electric heaters are potentially dangerous, it’s worth it to buy a trusted name brand to ensure safety and quality, even if you have to pay a little more.

If you're home heating is just not working, or if you think there is an issue with your HVAC, don't put off fixing it. Contact Kennedy Air Conditioning of Greater Little Rock and get back to comfort!

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