Space heaters are great for keeping the house warm, especially when the temperature begins to drop outside. But like every other thing with advantages, it comes with its own disadvantages as well.
According to the research published by Iowa State University, corroborated by data from the National Fire Protection Association, most fire incident in the house is caused by a space heater, and a staggering 87% of such incident usually result into civilian death. The ultimate question then is; how do space heaters cause fires?
If the event that results in fire is known, it can be easily avoided by making a guided decision on the use of space heaters in the house. This article explores five (5) major ways in which space heaters cause domestic fires, alongside suggestions on how to prevent such occurrences.
5 Ways In Which Space Heaters Causes Fire In The House
Unattended or Overnight Usage:
This does not just apply to space heaters, it applies to any other electrical appliance you can think of. It’s not ideal to leave them unattended for a long period of time. Reason being that, a long of things could go wrong before you notice it.
Space heaters are designed to emit heat in other to increase the temperature of the house. When it works continuously for a very long period of time, the risk of fire outbreak increases. By definition; a long period of time includes leaving it on all night. This National Fire Protection Associaton Advice strongly against this.
A good way to keep the house warm all night is to increase the insulation of the house, thereby protecting the home space from the brutal cold. Aside from insulation, you should drop your curtains, put on the light where necessary, and also wear heavy items of clothing to bed. This would help maintain the heat generated from your heater before switching it off when you’re about going to bed.
Poor Location Of The Heater:
We have an article on where to properly place a space heater. If the heater is not properly placed, you run the risk of fire through minor accidents. Take for instance, if the heater is located in close proximity to furniture item, or papers, or curtain, it’s a long list of items, but the main idea is that; you should refrain from positioning your space heater around inflammable objects.
Space heaters function by emitting a great amount of heat if this heat is continuously directed to an inflammable object, it won’t take long before the object catches fire. As a matter of fact, this is the most common way in which space heater causes fire in the house. When the heat comes in direct contact with inflammable objects.
To prevent this from happening, the best approach is to strategically position the space heater; far away from inflammable items. It’s advised that you don’t place the heater on a wooden item, it’s best placed on the floor, and in homes with toddlers and pet, you should surround the heater with a gate to create a boundary for the little ones, as well as your pet. Professionals recommend a 3ft isolation for space heaters. Endeavor to place your space heater in a position that is at the very least 3ft from any other item in the room.
Absence Of Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
Smoke or Carbon Monoxide detectors are designed to effectively monitor the level of CO2 in the house. These detectors are good for keeping an eye on the quality of air, especially if you have heaters in different parts of the house. It’s important to install a central detector system across the house. This would raise an alarm when the level of CO2 raises above normal in any area of the house.
Most people forget to install this detector when setting up a space heater. The importance cannot be overemphasized, especially if your heater runs on fuel as against the modern electric or infrared heaters. A smoke detector would quickly inform you of impending danger.
But when the system is not in place in houses that use space heaters, you become oblivious of any danger until it becomes too late to curtail. This is why you should invest some money in getting a standard smoke detector system installed alongside your space heater.
Overloading Electrical Circuit:
Because we live in the age of DIYs (Do It Your Self), people prefer to install their electrical appliances without the help of professionals. While YouTube is a great place to learn, I watch a lot of YouTube videos myself, it’s important to tread carefully when it comes to electrical appliances.
Because it comes in varying specifications, you run the risk of following the run advice if proper care is not taken. If you use an electric space heater, like most people, and it is not properly installed, there are high tendencies of setting the house on fire after several long usages.
In most cases, Electrical fire is a result of circuit overload, which is a problem associated with unprofessional electrical connection, and the use of incompatible accessories. If you must fix your space heater yourself, ensure you follow the proper guideline as stipulated by the manufacturer. If not, it’s best to hire a professional for a token and have the assurance that it has been done properly
Fuel Leakage, Improper Ventilation, etc:
Space heaters that run on gas, although cheaper to operate are much riskier as compared to an electrical space heater. Because there is a constant need to refill the gas, this gives room for gas leakage, and propane gas is highly inflammable. If the gas storage is not well situated, it can result in a massive fire outbreak.
A good approach is to keep the gas storage is a very secure place, to always check on the storage, clean it up and ensure it’s in proper shape from time to time. Aside from this, gas refill should be done outdoors or in a well-ventilated place.
It is strongly adviced that you refrain from using kerosene or gas space heaters indoor since there are modern heaters like infrared heaters, which are not only environmentally safe but also great for reducing the tendencies of fire outbreak, the use of kerosene or gas heaters should be greatly avoided as much as possible.
It’s important to keep the house warm during the cold winter season, and one of the best ways to get that done is through the use of space heaters.
It is also important, however, to put the safety of the inhabitant of the house first in selecting and using the appropriate space heater for your home. If you have kids and pets that are fond of roaming about the house, a gate to restrict their access to space heater is very non-negotiable.