Space Heaters Wiki

Hey! Looking for some heat in the winter months? We get that. And we get a lot of your questions, too. So here are the most common questions we get, along with the most common-sense answers we can give.

Your questions, our answers!

Let’s go there!

ℹ️ It goes without saying, but let’s say it: we are not doctors or lawyers, and the following does not constitute legal or medical advice. When in doubt, please always stay on the safe side!

Space Heaters : The Basics

Are space heaters safe? Are they dangerous?

Short version: Space heaters are safer than they used to be. Manufacturers are coming up with ingenious ways to make heaters even safer by incorporating top features like auto-shutoff, tip-detection, among others. We’ll look at them more in depth.

The type of the space heater.

The nature of the user’s lifestyle or the amount of heat needed to heat the house determines the type of the space heater to be used. This can in turn affect how vigilant they have to be to ensure the rooms are safe for everyone.

Gas and Kerosene heaters are more common during winter as they are more affordable and do not require too much maintenance. However, they can easily become deadly especially if they are used in a poorly ventilated room as the resulting carbon monoxide gas buildup can cause death.

One good way to overcome this problem would be to install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide meters so as to attend to them promptly.

Adopting Best Practices when Dealing with Heaters

As we said earlier, most of these heaters come with enough features to ensure they are not a hazard to your family. However, if the user does not adopt the best practices to complement them, they can be rendered useless.

  1. Always ensure you use a grounded outlet when plugging electric heaters. Most of these users require at least 1500W and plugging them in extension cords alongside other appliance can pose a huge risk.
  2. When using a kerosene or gas heater indoors, make sure the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and always fully charged.
  3. Do not leave any heater running while you are not in the house. This ensures they are always attended to whenever something happens.
  4. Be watchful of your kids and pets as they could knock the space heater and get burned in the process especially if the heater is not warm to touch on the exterior and this could leave the nursing serious burns. Always unplug the heater when not in use. Also, it is not a good idea to let them touch the button, or play with the remotes even if you are there to supervise.

Statistics from National Fire Protection Agency show that almost a third of all winter house fires come from space heaters. 80 percent of these cause death or serious injuries. You don’t have to add up to these statistics.

Is your heater even certified?

While sticking to space heaters with the latest safety features, there is a chance(even though very minimal) that your heater isn’t even certified.A number of independent testing firms usually carry out some basic test to ensure basic safety features are used before the heater can be released into the market.

Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Certification.

Some of these are UL, ETL, and CSA. They always have their label on appliances they have tested. Ensure you can see any of them before going ahead and purchasing your desired heater.

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Are space heaters energy-efficient or do they use a lot of electricity and are expensive to run?

Short version: Compared to other central heating systems, space heaters tend to be a bit more efficient. This is because they can be set to heat only those places that need to be heated only. They also heat spaces faster as compared to central heating systems.

Space heaters are relatively cheaper to run as most of these operate on 1500W of power which is much lower when compared to most ACs. However, this reduces to a great deal the amount of space they can cover.

Efficient space heaters are able to keep the entire room warm without adding too much to the bills.

While most ACs can cover entire floors or houses, space heaters are only able to cover a room or two. Space heaters convert almost all the electricity into heat energy which places them as some of the most energy-efficient heaters.

Know when you need a space heater, and when you don’t. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to use a space heater. One of this is when you need to heat more than one room or the entire house. As mentioned earlier, space heaters are more suited for single rooms.

Central heating system would be better when dealing with the whole house. If you see yourself needing to crank up the heat frequently, there could be some other underlying problems you’ll need to fix first.

Some of the most common ones that would need addressing include cold air seeping into the room, or poorly insulated house.

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Can space heaters cause acne, nausea, headaches?

Short version: Improper set up of space heater, or using faulty heaters can lead to undesirable health conditions related to excess heat or dangerous gases like Carbon Monoxide and Nitrous Oxide.

While space heaters, especially the gas heaters, are cheap, energy efficient and have a relatively low environmental impact, they need proper care. Otherwise, they could result in unwanted health conditions ranging from dizziness, headache, nausea to dangerous ones like chest pains, shortness of breath, or even death.

Don’t let faulty space heaters ruin your day.

Call out a Profession to investigate.
If you suspect your heater could be the cause of the above symptoms, make sure you call in professionals to investigate, spruce up, and inspect your space heaters.

It is recommended that you ensure your heaters are checked by a professional every couple of winters to ensure it always works on optimum conditions.

You could be recycling bacteria.
In the quest to ensure warm conditions are maintained in the room, we inadvertently restrict the flow of fresh air entering the house. This means that we are always recycling the same air over and over, and the bacteria that develop in these pristine conditions.

Investing in an air purifier could do you a very huge favor. This is because you will not have to keep opening the doors to let fresh air in as the air purifier can freshen up the indoor air.

Maybe it’s time you replaced your heater.
Some people are just stubborn and won’t accept defeat. Replacing a worn-out beat-up heater could be a better investment than repairing an over 10 years old space heater.

You can get cheaper space heaters in virtually any store these days.

Repairing could even result in safety issues as the spare parts may not even be available or compatible with your model. This could mean your heater does not meet the emission standards which could be harmful to your health.

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Can space heaters kill bed bugs?

Short version: If you properly set up your heater, it is as capable of getting rid of the annoying creatures as using the more expensive professional extermination.

Let’s face it – there is nothing more embarrassing than a bedbug crawling up of your sofa just when you are having fun with your visiting friends. A grown-up bedbug is rarely ever alone and seeing one could be a sign of a bedbug-infested room.

Using heat to get rid of bedbugs.

Bedbugs are notorious for just popping back even when you do a pest control mostly because most of these methods do not completely get rid of this blood-sucking menace.

While turning to professional extermination might still get the job done, it’s much more expensive than if you knew how to do it yourself. If your house is tightly sealed and well insulated, your space heater could just be the tool you need to deal with the bedbug.

Different heaters require a different way of handling during the process. Electric heaters are usually the easiest to use as they do not require too much attentiveness and can be left and checked back later.

It’s good you have at least an idea of what type of bedbugs you are dealing with because different types require different heat requirements.

Temperatures exceeding 110Β°F are enough to kill bed bugs including their eggs.

For propane and other gas heaters, you’ll need to be attentive throughout the process. This is because unlike the electric heater closed system, this uses an open system which heats up the room much quicker. This method takes a much shorter time as compared to other electric methods.

Most bedbugs start to die as the temperature exceeds 110Β° F. The reasons why this method is much more effective than other chemical treatments include the ability to kill bedbugs as well as bacteria and viruses in the room, and it leaves no residue.

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How do space heaters catch fire? How should I protect myself from a hazard?

Short version: Keeping sufficiently warm while at the same time being safe such a challenging task. Ensure the heater is not at close proximity to anything that might catch fire.

Don’t add yourself to the sad statistics

December, January, and February are is a peak season for space heater fires, and some of these have been deadly. They have destroyed properties worth of millions and in some cases claimed innocent lives.

Leaving unattended space heaters could lead to fire breakouts and possible loss of life.

More than half of these fires began when heaters were placed too close to inflammable stuff such as curtains and upholstered furniture or clothing, according to the NFPA. These statistics alone should be enough to remind you of the potential fire hazards that come along with space heaters and why you need to use them with caution.

A lot can be done to ensure the safe use of heating equipment by following basic precaution measures to ensure adding the much-needed warmth does not result in tears.

Give heaters space

  1. Keep the heater off the wall(or anything else) by at least 3-4 feet. This will ensure that the heater has ample space and the air is flowing freely around the heater at optimum conditions.
  2. Loose curtains should not hang near the heater as they could easily ignite and catch fire and this could quickly spread to other parts of the house before you even know it.
  3. If you have kids or pets, you will have to stay vigilant as they could easily topple the appliance over or burn their hands while playing with it. While you can still shop for ‘kids-friendly’ space heaters, they are still not foolproof and will require you constantly peek on the baby nursery to ensure they are alright.
  4. Use only one heater for every wall socket. Do not use extension cords. Most of these heaters draw quite some current from the wall and would not be ideal to share the socket with other appliances like the fridge as they could easily blow off and cause fire hazards.

While shopping for space heaters, ensure they have top-notch safety features such as anti-topple, overheat protection, and cool to touch exterior surface

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Are space heaters safe for babies? Are they safe for pets?

Short version: Children are more susceptible to fluctuating weather patterns than adults. Most heaters are generally safe for small children and pets. But during the unforgiving frostbite weather, you will need to ensure that your baby is always warm and safe.

Unlike grownups who will turn to the thermostat whenever they feel the temperature is not good for them, kids can’t tell if the temperature is too hot or too cold.

If you want to use a space heater with kids you will have to commit to keeping vigil 24/7 to make sure the temperature is not too cold or hot for them.

If the baby back is hot or it is crying constantly, it may be a sign of too much temperature.
  • Set alarm at regular intervals.

To ensure the baby is always comfortable at all times to be sure to set alarm at regular intervals especially if you are a first time user of a space heater. This will keep you informed about the babies conditions at all times. Keep the baby’s room a bit open and use soft blankets instead of opting to a higher temperature.

  • Always be prepared.

To see the surroundings as kids do, go down on your knees and look around you to see a potential source of a safety hazard. This childproofing shouldn’t, however, take over your responsibility for supervision.

Babies curiosity may make it difficult to control them as they’ll always want to reach places they shouldn’t. Ensure heaters are out of reach of crawling babies.

  • The risk of burns(Using child-safe heaters)

While ensuring space heaters are out of reach of kids and pets, choosing a heater that has been made to be safe for kids could add another layer of security for your family.

While most ceramic fan-based heaters are great due to their fast heating capability, they may not be ideal especially if you have children. This is because they tend to deplete oxygen faster than it can be replaced especially in sealed rooms. This might make the room stuffy and their nasal cavity might become susceptible to serious health problems.

Oil-filled space heaters are a much better option for kids. They are cool to touch, do not deplete the air, and maintains the level of humidity in the room.

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Do space heaters produce or emit carbon monoxide?

Short version: Most of the problems caused by carbon monoxide can be eliminated ensuring your house is well ventilated. This means heaters are placed at the right place and chimneys are well cleaned and free of birds nests.

Carbon monoxide is produced when there is incomplete combustion as gases leave the fuel burning heater. Too much of this gas points to oxygen-depleted air. The fact that this gas is not visible nor does it have an odor means it can quickly wreak havoc before being detected.

While all that might sound scary, upping the risk of poisoning can be a lifesaver. This gas can seriously interfere with oxygen delivery in your body. Long exposures to carbon monoxide can lead to fatigue, dizziness, disorientation, and even death.

  • Make sure your area is well ventilated.

Most of the problems caused by carbon monoxide can be eliminated ensuring your house is well ventilated. This means heaters are placed at the right place and chimneys are well cleaned and free of birds nests.

Heaters such as gas heaters, whether fueled by propane or natural gas, kerosene heaters, wood stoves, or charcoal grill can emit carbon monoxide. Ensure the heater you are using the correct heater for your building type and assess whether you have correctly installed them.

Ensure your house is well ventilated especially if you are using gas-based heaters.
  • Installing detectors.

Always ensure your house has CO detectors installed in every room and at least 15 feet away from any heat source. As carbon monoxide is lighter and thus tend to rise from the source, it only makes sense to install the detectors on ceilings.

Victims of carbon monoxide poisoning tend to sleep deeper into unconsciousness when as the level of the gas increases. To wake them up, ensure the house has sirens installed so that they can wake them up just in case no one else is in the premises.

Learn how you can install CO alarms in your house.

If you can’t keep them attended at all times, you should avoid using them especially if you have kids. Small children and pets are very susceptible to even small amounts of CO, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur, and soot that is produced when there is incomplete combustion.

If you suspect you or your family member has been poisoned, the best action to take would be to move them out of the area immediately, call 911 or your local emergency service, and do so while ensuring your own safety. If you think the victim is not breathing perform, or have a friend perform CPR on the victim ASAP.

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Should you unplug space heaters when not in use? Should they be left unattended?

Short version: For you to stay warm, your heater has to produce heat. The same heat causes fires and burns. This means, unlike other appliances, space heaters pose more risk and therefore you have to be more careful to ensure everyone is safe.

Goes without saying that safety has to be a top consideration when using space heaters. While we may try to buy the best heaters out there with top-notch safety features and certification, things might not pan out as we expect most of the times.

The thing is, space heaters are not 100% risks-proof, components may become faulty, power on the grid may surge, or your sensors may not be working as they are expected to. To minimize such risks, you need to be there to make sure you are aware of the conditions of your heater, at all times.

Ensuring your heater is always unplugged every time there is no one in the house is a good practice that can ensure the unexpected doesn’t happen while you are away.

While pre-heating your house before you arrive might seem like a good idea, it may pose a lot of risks to your house as you are not there to check the condition of the appliance and the power source before putting it on.

Leaving your heater unattended could cause the filament to overheat, and if your heater doesn’t have some overheat protection, you and your house are in danger.

Smart thermostats are good if used properly.

Do not put too much trust to auto-adjusting thermostats on space heaters as they can some times fail and set the temperature to unsafe values while you are asleep. If you have small kids, set alarms at regular intervals and so you can constantly monitor their temperature.

Always ensure you put off your gas heater at least 30 minutes before going to bed. This will ensure all the gases have settled in the house and the air quality is at the normal level. Charcoal stoves should be put off before going to bed to prevent CO gas build up while you are asleep.

Another way to get around this would be to use an electric blanket and preheat the bed before you get to sleep. This way you can stay warm at night without having to worry about waking up to check on the heater. You can then set your programmable thermostat to preheat the rest of the room or house before you wake up.

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Will space heaters dehumidify?

Short version: Air can get quite dry during the winter. Having a heater than wrings more moisture from your room only makes it worse. It is good to know how your heater affects the humidity in the room so you can prepare in advance.
  • Fan-based heaters.

Regular use of fan-based heaters can cause dry skin and dehydration. While too much dehydration might be caused by other factors, your space heaters may be contributing to the dry air in the house.

It is, therefore, worth to have a look at it and make informed decisions. Some of the condition that should definitely raise red flags include uncomfortable and tight skin or dull and lethargic look on small children.

Small children are more susceptible to dehydration than adults and may need immediate medical checkup before things get worse. Sunken eyes, cold hands, and feet may be signs of aggravated dehydration.

  • Gas furnaces.

A lot of people get confused about whether they need to have a humidifier alongside gas heaters. This is not supposed to be as complicated as many people make it seem to be. You just have to know the kind of heater you own.

Some gas heaters use up air from the room for the combustion (atmospheric combustion) while others use air from outside the house and use it to burn the gas and provide the needed warmth (sealed combustion).
For the former, to heat the house effectively, the air drawn from the house has to be replaced as soon as it gets used up.

If it is well ventilated, then you don’t require a humidifier alongside the heater. For the sealed combustion heaters, there is no need to worry about the indoor humidity as the heater only draws air from outside and therefore doesn’t need a humidifier.

If you feel the air is still getting dryer, you probably need to check for leakages in the house and ducts.

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Do space heaters blow fuses?

Short version: Improper wiring such as daisy chaining has been blamed for nearly half of all house fires. Overloaded wires generate heat which melts plastics. This can ignite flammable stuff and cause fires.

Dangers of daisy chaining.
While daisy chaining may help save on the wires, it comes at a cost. Stringing space heaters alongside other appliances may create an inherent risk should there be an electric failure in one of the appliances.

While daisy chaining can save on wiring, it can be dangerous.

As compared to other appliances, space heaters can be classified as power hogs. Drawing power from the same power source could lead to an overload on the wiring. If the load is too much to handle, fuses start to blow, surge protectors get triggered, or the outlet gets blown.

This may cause fire hazards and potential damage to other appliances. It may also lead to wiring melting the plastics which can lead to electric shocks.

If your heater constantly blows fuses, have a specialist come and have a look at your wiring and recommend the best way to rewire your house. If you don’t use power strips and your house isn’t daisy chained, your heater could be having a faulty component that is causing the fuse to blow.

  • Use low wattage space heaters.

If you don’t want to blow fuses often or trigger breakers, a good alternative would be to go for low wattage space heaters. The good thing about these heaters is that they are not hard on your pocket and won’t inflate your electricity bills.

You don’t need to have big space heaters if you are smart enough to know how to keep yourself warm effectively. Insulating your house, using a thermostat or a timer might come in handy if you want to conserve energy and save on bills.

If you must use powerstrips, you should then make sure you use overload protection to protect the outlet from fuse damages and also minimize the likelihood of starting fires.

  • Use surge protectors and overload protection

Consider installing additional power outlets if you are overly reliant on extension cords. Such messy setups only increase the likelihood of blowing fuses and causing fires. Always ensure you understand the wattage limit of your wiring so you can make informed decisions on which type of space heater are best suited for your wiring capability.

Surge protectors can save lives incase of power surge.
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Does walgreens / CVS have space heaters?

Short version: These shops offer a wide variety of heating solutions and have renowned customer services. However, CVS is only available to US customers.

Walgreens sells all types of space heaters that you can imagine from small ceramic portable heaters to large space heaters.

Some good heaters sold by Walgreens include Honeywell’s HeatBud 250W heater that provides a perfect solution for personal spaces. With one button control, it is enough to give you a cozy and warm experience.

The Build Bonanza Handy heater, Koolaron 12V, and the Crane USA would be good alternatives. Their customer service is stellar as they can accept items for exchange or refund as long as they have not 30 days or more old.

They also have a robust way for you to track and see the status of your return through their customer service contacts.

For international customers, CVS doesn’t ship outside the United States and only orders belonging to a member of the U.S Army on international duty can make orders to the CVS.

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Does Walmart / Target have space heaters?

Short version: If you know which specific heater you are going for, you shouldn’t break a sweat trying to find it in any of Walmart or Target stores. However, the large plethora of options may make it a daunting task trying to choose the right space heater for your house.

It is a good idea to read a shopping guide before making a purchase so that you can be assured about the quality appliance. Check for safety features and certifications before purchasing the space heater.

Walmart offers ceramic, infrared, fan-forced, and radiant heater options and their combos. Big brands such as Delonghi, Holmes, Lasko, Heat Storms, and Honeywell all make sure their appliances are listed on these stores.

Walmart has a dedicated help center to help customers in choosing methods of payment, finding stores and price matching. You can also create an account on their website and use it to track your order thereby eliminating the need to contact them by phone.

If you are not happy with a product you’ve purchased, Walmart provides you with easy ways to return the faulty item and have it replaced or get a refund. You don’t even have to have the receipt to return the item as they can look up for your item!

Target has also not been left behind as they have come up with ingenious ways to lure customers to shop with them. Incentives like Order Ahead or Drive Up only lure more customers. For example for the Drive Up incentive, you can order an item without getting out of your car, and have it delivered to your door.

All kinds of heaters, from table-top to wall-mounted and pedestal heaters are available at Target. Again all big brands scramble to get their appliances listed so you can expect quality appliances from them.

Their rating system is quite robust and you can see how verified users have reviewed their space heaters after purchase and this can also act as a guide as to which appliances are best suited for your conditions.

If you have an account with them, then it makes returning a faulty item much easier as you don’t have to be guided as it is very straight forward and easy. Barcodes from packing slips are just but enough to help you with returns.

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