Portable Space Heater Safety

If you plan to use portable electric space heaters, make sure to follow these tips and recommendations


Nearly half of all space heater fires involve electric space heaters

Heater Checklist

  • Purchase a heater that is listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including people.
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection.
  • Place the heater on a solid, flat surface.
  • Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over.
  • Keep space heaters out of the way of foot traffic. Never block an exit.
  • Keep children away from the space heater.
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet. Never use an extension cord. 
  • Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room or go to bed.

Types of electric space heaters

  • Oil or water-filled radiator - Heated oil or water travels through the heater. 
  • Fan-forced heater - A fan blows warm air over metal coils. 
  • Ceramic heater - Air is warmed over a ceramic heating element.
  • Infrared heater - Heat is created by infrared bulbs.

Portable Space Heater Safety (pdf; for print)

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