Most injuries from fires involving heating equipment occurred when the user was asleep or when a child under 10 was left unsupervised with the equipment, according to data released in September 2009, from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Portable electric heaters should be used according to the manufacturers' instructions so that injuries can be avoided.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) urges consumers to follow these simple and important safety tips when using portable electric heaters. These tips are also found online at http://www.heatersafety.org:
- Read the manufacturer's instructions and warning labels before using your portable electric heater.
- Do not leave an operating heater unattended and always unplug heater when not in use.
- Do not use your heater with a power strip or extension cord. Overheating of a power strip or extension cord could result in a fire.
- String out cords on top of area rugs or carpeting. Placing anything, including furniture, on top of the cord may damage it.
- Keep combustible materials, such as furniture, pillows, bedding, papers, clothes and curtains at least three feet from the front of the heater and away from the sides and rear. Do not block heater's air intake or outlet.
- Keep flammable materials, such as paint, gas cans and matches, away from the heater.
- Unless the heater is designed for outdoor use or in bathrooms, do not use in damp or wet areas. Parts in the heater may be damaged by moisture.
- Check periodically for a secure plug/outlet fit. If the plug does not fit snugly into the outlet or if the plug becomes very hot, the outlet may need to be replaced. Check with a qualified electrician to replace the outlet.
- Unplug the heater when not in use by pulling the plug straight out from the outlet. Inspect the heater's cord periodically. Do not use a heater with a damaged cord.
- Do not plug any other electrical device into the same outlet as your heater. This could result in overheating.
- Heaters should be kept away from children and not be placed in a child's room without supervision.
- Place heater on a level, flat surface. Only use heater on table tops when specified by the manufacturer. Do not place your heater on furniture. It could fall, dislodging or breaking parts in the heater.
AHAM's "Stay Safe! Top Tips for using your Portable Electric Heater Safely!" brochures are endorsed by the following safety groups: the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).