The cold weather is here so people are thinking about heating their homes and the bill that comes along with keeping the cold at bay. Many people turn to space heaters as an alternative to residential furnaces as they are an effective way to warm a room and they are surprisingly energy efficient. Other advantages to space heaters include their ability to heat a space as large as 300 square feet both rapidly and evenly.

Space Heater Accidents

Between 2005 and 2007 space heaters were the direct cause of about 3,800 house fires a year. These house fires were responsible for 115 deaths and 250 injuries. Space heaters are responsible for 82 percent of deaths in house fires caused by heating devices. Children under the age of five and the elderly over the age of 65 are the most common victims of space heater accidents. Homes in the south have a higher rate of space heater accidents because so many people can’t afford to heat their homes and because there isn’t as much demand for furnace heat due to a warmer climate.

Home heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires behind cooking equipment although the fires are more common in the winter when cold temperatures emerge. The good news is that fires and deaths caused by home heating equipment are on the decline. In fact, fires caused by home heaters in 2008 were down by 72 percent from 1980. New technology has helped to decrease the safety risks in home heaters. A modern space heater comes with a circuit breaker and automatic shutoffs when it is toppled or clogged or when it overheats. Still, we should follow portable heater safety tips to avoid fires in our home.

Portable Space Heating Safety Tips

  • Keep flammable items at least three feet away from the heating device.
  • Teach your children about the heat that heaters put out and have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around your space heaters.
  • Have a qualified professional check and clean your heating equipment and chimneys each year before use.
  • Do not leave portable heaters running when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • If you are using a fuel-burning space heater, only use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer
  • Test smoke alarms on a regular basis.
  • Store fuel containers, piping, and regulators upright in a safe and dry area where they will not be damaged; preferably outdoors.
  • Protect valves from physical damage.

When used correctly, space heaters are a safe, cost-efficient, and effective way to heat rooms within your home. Be sure to follow safety tips to avoid a space heater accident.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!

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