Temperatures across New Hampshire have finally reached the point where families are taking out their space heater from storage. While these units can provide much needed heat during the colder days, The Insurance Center would like to share important guidelines to help keep your family safe.
“Safety should always be the number one priority before plugging in a space heater,” said Robert J. Sammon, President of The Insurance Center. “Homeowners have a duty to carefully inspect whether those units are still safe to use or they could risk endangering their family.”
Firefighters respond to roughly 25,000 residential fires due to faulty or misused space heaters every year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. As new safety features are implemented into products, it is expected that a decrease in residential fires will follow.
Regardless of the age of space heater units, Sammon says, homeowners should keep an eye on certain signs to help thwart a potential home fire. Here are a few points and additional suggestions to keep in mind this season with regards to space heaters.
Make sure cords are intact
Space heater cords with exposed electrical wires should be tossed out immediately. Those wires can pose an electrocution risk, and could spark an electrical fire.
Confirm space heaters are on a level surface
Older units may continue to run even if it is knocked over. The concentrated heat source has led to countless fires. If possible, only use a space heater that is designed to turn off when it is tipped over.
Only plug units directly into a wall outlet
Extension cords and power strips are not designed to funnel the amount of energy a space heater requires. Those items could easily overheat and catch fire.
Unplug units when they are not in use
Homeowners should always turn off and unplug space heaters before going to bed, especially if they are older units. New units may have automatic timers to turn off, but homeowners are discouraged from solely relying on this safety feature.
Keep flammable objects far away
Blankets, clothes, fabric products, and furniture should be kept at least three feet away from space heaters. These items are especially susceptible to catching fire.
Update your homeowners insurance policy
Home fires can result in significant financial losses if properties do not have the proper amount of coverage. If property values in your area have increased or if you recently renovated parts of your home, call The Insurance Center to make sure your limits would cover those losses.
With a spike in home fires typically around the holidays, The Insurance Center urges you to heed these important safety tips. Our insurance agents remain committed to protecting your family from losses, and we will work with you to tailor insurance products to meet your needs. If you have additional questions about keeping your family safe or would like to refer your friends to our insurance agents, we encourage you to call 603.542.2551.