Winter Space Heater Safety Tips

Winter Space Heater Safety TipsAs we head into another icy New Jersey winter, it’s time to get out the heavy gloves, coats, and of course, the space heater. Space heaters are a great way to save money on your heating bill while keeping toasty in the winter months, but the Northern New Jersey product liability attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates have seen first-hand the high number of house fires these appliances are responsible for. According to Consumer Reports, space heaters cause roughly 25,000 house fires and 300 deaths annually. However, there are steps you can take to keep you home safe from fire this winter season.

Choosing a Space Heater

While it may seem like all space heaters are created equal, this is far from the truth, especially from a safety perspective. When shopping for your space heater, be on the lookout for the following qualities:

  • Safety Certification: Choose a space heater that has the approval of an independent safety testing organization. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Safety Guard on Heating Element: This feature will protect children, pets, and others from accidental burns.
  • Tip-over Safety Switch: This safety feature turns off the heater if it’s ever bumped or knocked over.
  • Proper Sizing for Your Needs: Most heaters are designed to heat certain sizes of rooms. If you buy a heater that’s too powerful for the space, you run the risk of overheating the device or simply wasting energy.

Even if you’ve chosen a space heater with these important features, accidents can still happen. If you experience a fire because of your space heater, don’t assume that you are to blame. The manufacturer may very well be liable, but only a qualified Northern New Jersey product liability attorney can tell you for sure. If you have questions, get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates at 1-800-NOW-HURT.

Proper Space Heater Use

Buying a safe space heater is only the first step to keeping your home fire-free this winter. You also have to properly use the appliance. Here are some important tips:

  • Do not place anything flammable within 3 feet of your space heater. Keeping this zone free of flammable objects is among the most important safety precautions you can take when operating a space heater. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 54% of home heating fire deaths were caused by a heating appliance operating too close to flammable materials, such as blankets, clothing, or upholstered furniture.
  • Place the heater on a hard, level surface. Do not place your space heater on furniture, rugs, or other uneven or flammable surfaces.
  • Be mindful of the cord and plug. Always plug the space heater directly into the wall outlet, rather than using extension cords or power strips. Also make sure the plug fits snugly; if the plug is loose or you notice that the plug, cord, or outlet are overheating, stop using the space heater immediately. Additionally, avoid running the cord across areas such as walkways and under rugs, as this can cause damage. If you notice that a cord is frayed, do not use the appliance.
  • Don’t leave the heater running unattended. When you leave the room, turn off the space heater. This includes when you go to sleep. While it might be tempting to leave your space heater on through the night to keep your bedroom warm, remember that it can be a significant fire hazard.
  • Do not get it wet or operate near water. Water can create serious shock hazards, so only operate your space heater in a dry location and avoid contact with water.
  • Install smoke alarms. If you haven’t already, make sure you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your home, and check them regularly to be sure they’re working.

When to Contact a Product Liability Lawyer

At Buttafuoco & Associates, we understand that you can’t always prevent accidents, especially in the case of a faulty device. But our product liability attorneys in Northern New Jersey specialize in defective household products and know how to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you’ve experienced a fire caused by a space heater, get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates and consult with our product liability lawyers serving Northern New Jersey today at 1-800-NOW-HURT.

Comments are closed.