How Dangerous are Home Space Heaters?

How Dangerous are Home Space Heaters?Whether you have a room that never seems to get warm or a family member who needs extra heat, home space heaters seem like a logical solution. Just put one in the room where you need additional heat and leave the rest of the house at the temperature you prefer.

However, many homeowners wonder if this solution is actually safe. They’re right to ask that question. A space heater brings with it some additional risks for fire and other hazards. Most of these risks can be avoided if you follow some simple precautions.

Ways to Minimize Space Heater Risk

  1. Choose an electric heater. Fuel-burning heaters can release carbon monoxide (CO) into the air. Electric heaters avoid this risk. If you must use a fuel-burning heater, be sure you can vent it outside the house and install a CO detector.
  2. Plug your heater into the wall. Extension cords are more likely to overheat and catch fire, so plug your heater directly into the outlet.
  3. Place your space heater in an area clear of flammable material. Put it on a hard surface, not carpet. Make sure it’s a safe distance from curtains and furniture. Also, avoid putting it in the walkway where it can get knocked over or people can bump into it and burn themselves.

If you’re purchasing a new space heater, look for models that have been tested for safety in an independent testing facility. If you see an Underwriters Laboratory (UL), Intertek (ETL), or Canadian Standards Association (CSA) logo, that means the model you’re looking at meets specific safety requirements.

Also look for safety features. Many space heaters come with sensors that shut the heater off under some or all of these circumstances:

  • The heater tips over.
  • The heater overheats.
  • Oxygen in the room is lower than a set level (for fuel-burning heaters).


You may find that using a zoned heating approach to your home is a safer way to handle special heating situations. For more information about zoned heating, space heater safety, or any other HVAC concerns in your Central New Jersey home, contact Elite Air today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Trenton, New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about space heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or give us a call at 609-401-2655.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “brian-a-jackson/Shutterstock”

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