Many people use portable electric space heaters to supplement their home heating system.  When used properly, an electric space heater can be helpful for short-term supplemental heat for a room or an area of a room.  However, if your furnace or heat pump simply cannot keep up, it may be a sign that you need furnace repairs or replacement.

Most homeowners consider space heaters to be a safe way to heat because they have no open flames and do not produce dangerous gases.  However, an electric space heater can pose a fire hazard and the possibility of electrocution.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, electric space heaters cause over 1,000 fires per year.  Protect your family by following a few simple safety precautions.  An electric heater is capable of igniting combustible materials so keep the heater at least three feet away from curtains, papers, beds, sofas or anything else that could catch on fire.

Place the heater in a secure location where it will not tip over.  When shopping for a new heater, look for one that has an automatic shut off feature in case it gets knocked over.

Heaters use a lot of electricity so make sure that the plug fits securely into the wall socket.  Avoid using an extension cord with an electric heater but if you must, get a heavy duty extension cord.  Do not run the power cord under carpets or rugs.  The cord can get worn and ignite the flooring.  Check the cord periodically.  If the cord, plug or wall socket gets hot during use, have the wall socket checked out by an electrician and have the heater repaired or replaced.

If you find yourself regularly using an electric space heater, your home heating system may need to be serviced or replaced.  Have it inspected by a reputable HVAC contractor like Holland Heating and Cooling.

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