If you use an electric space heater as your primary home heating source, it’s time to upgrade. Even though they’re convenient, space heaters have a lot of hidden dangers you might not be aware of. Here’s what to know and which heating options to consider instead.
Fact: 88% of deadly home heating fires are caused by space heaters (National Fire Protection Association)
Space heaters are much more dangerous than people give them credit for. The reality is that almost all fatal home fires originate from them. Only 12% of fatal heating house fires aren’t caused by portable heating appliances. That 12% also encompasses all other causes of heating fires that result in death, including oil, natural gas furnaces, and wood stoves combined.
This usually happens when an electric space heater is left on at night and something flammable is too close, like drapes or upholstered furniture. With everyone asleep, the fire quickly gets out of control and people become trapped and unable to escape before anyone realizes what’s happening.
Portable heaters need a lot of energy to be able to create usable warmth from electricity. This might be okay if you’re not really running it too often and just need a boost on very cold days. But if you’re using it as your main heating source, your energy bills are going to skyrocket.
Ductless mini splits use the least amount of energy, since the system doesn’t need to actually generate heat. It only has to move it from one place to the other. This costs less and is easier on the environment.
Fact: Dry indoor air can cause serious health problems like dehydration, bronchitis, dermatitis, nosebleeds, and anxiety (Healthline).
Electric heaters, especially those with fans that blow hot air around your house, will evaporate a lot of the moisture out of your indoor air. This can be both uncomfortable and unhealthy. If you struggle already with chronic conditions like asthma, emphysema, or sinus problems, space heaters may make it worse.
You can use a humidifier to replace some of the lost moisture — just be sure your indoor humidity doesn’t go over 50%. Air that’s too humid can also cause comfort and health issues, so striking a balance is key.
Fact: Children and pets can be severely burned by electric space heaters. They should be kept a minimum of 3 feet away from them at all times (U.S. Fire Administration).
The biggest danger of portable heaters is their accessibility and exposed heating elements. They often sit on the floor where young children and pets play or sleep and are hot enough to cause immediate burns.
Babies and puppies might chew on cords, causing an electrical fire, or tip them over where they can cause fabric or other flammable objects to ignite. It’s safest to use another type of heating in rooms that children and pets have access to if at all possible.
Fact: Space heaters that have smart controls are uncommon in America (New York Times).
Most space heaters have simple designs with low, medium, and high settings. They’re really designed to heat small rooms and enclosed spaces, so complicated comfort controls supposedly aren’t needed.
But this leaves people using portable heaters without many options for regulating the temperature in their space. You might find that the low setting isn’t warm enough, while the high setting makes your space uncomfortably hot.
If you’re supplementing your existing heating system, this might not be such an issue. Your main system can do the bulk of the work and you can just turn your space heater on when you’re chilly. Otherwise, you could find it hard to get comfortable with just a few settings to choose from.
If your electric space heater just isn’t cutting it anymore, it’s time for an upgrade. At Jones Services, our qualified and experienced technicians can help you discover the best heating options for your home, so you can stay warm and comfortable all winter long. Contact us today to learn more about energy-efficient, affordable heating or to have a technician visit your home for a quote. Call now by dialing (845) 299-2234.