Use space heaters wisely

The following tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International will help you get the best and safest results from your portable electric space heater.

  • Read the manufacturer’s warning labels and manuals and follow them closely before using a space heater.
  • Keep flammable materials—including bedding, clothing, draperies, rugs and furniture—at least three feet away from the heater.
  • Don’t use space heaters around unsupervised children and pets.
  • Don’t poke fingers or objects through the heater’s protective guards. The slightest contact with a heating element can cause a severe burn, shock, or fire.
  • Turn off your space heater and unplug it when leaving the room.
  • Don’t use extension cords with space heaters.
  • Electric space heaters use a lot of electricity. To avoid a circuit overload, plug it into a circuit that is not already burdened by other appliances and fixtures.
  • Keep the power cord away from high-traffic areas to prevent a tripping hazard, but do not run the cord under a carpet, rug or furniture. The cord could overheat and cause a fire.
  • Water and electricity don’t mix! Use only those space heaters marked as approved for such locations as bathrooms. If this information is missing, don’t use the heater in that area.
The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us at or your attorney if you have any questions. The article may not be linked to, copied, reproduced, republished, posted, or distributed in any way by non-policyholders of Markel®, without permission.