If you’re looking to buy a heater this season it’s best you know the proper space heater safety measures you need to take. While the best garage heater is a great way to stay warm – energy efficient, powerful (more-so than regular space heaters), even heat distribution, quiet – need I say more?
Though as with anything producing heat, you have to make sure that these heaters are running smoothly. Most heaters come with great extra features to make safety a no-brainer; thermostats, multiple fan options, remotes, overheat protection, etc…
The danger here is when you don’t follow proper usage guidelines. While most often these guidelines are clearly stated in your heaters instructions, I’m going to re-iterate the basics here for you to make sure you and others stay safe this season.
A garage heater is often the most common way to beat the chill, but remember to use caution when operating these heaters. Electric garage heaters are easy to forget about as they usually run pretty quiet and there’s no dangerous gas being emitted.
Remember to turn the heat down when you’re not looking to heat a space rapidly. While most have overheat controls, you will need to make sure you either have this feature or turn down the heaters temperature.
Naturally, heat can cause fires. Keep the surrounding area clutter free. This is especially important for any sort of garage workshop. No papers, debris, materials should be close to touching the heater. A ceiling mounted shop heater is an easy way to avoid this all together.
Garage Heater Safety
Here’s a few general tips to keep your house safe from damage.
Damaged Heater. Don’t operate your garage heater if you find anything wrong with it (ie. cut cord, damaged interior/exterior). A damaged heater has a higher chance of malfunctioning, which has the chance of leading to an electrical fire or a possible gas/propane fire. Found a second hand heater? Great, but make sure you look over it for any damage or loose parts. As far as space heater safety goes, this is one of the most common serious issues.
Placement. Place your heater as far away from flammable objects as possible (notably paper and cloth-based material). While most may find obvious, some models of heaters may look like furniture (like the dr infrared space heater pictured above), so be sure to inform your guests that there is a space heater present and to not touch or leave objects near it.
Give it some room. Have your shop heater least two or three feet from any objects.
Don’t run it overnight. For that matter, whenever you’re not in the room you should turn the heater off. Don’t leave it unattended.
Make sure the voltage is correct. Don’t overload the plug.
Propane and other Gas Fuels
Gas-run heaters such as propane, natural gas, or kerosene, produce carbon monoxide. Most people are familiar with the fact that you should never use your barbecue indoors, and that’s because any gas fueled machine produces this deadly fume.
While it’s harmless outdoors or in heavily ventilated areas, the real danger comes from non-ventilated areas. This allows the oxygen to be slowly replaced overtime by carbon monoxide which the heater produces. This fume is incredibly dangerous because it’s very hard to notice as it happens very gradually.
If you ever find yourself getting tired, be sure to shut the heater off and either increase the ventilation, go outside, or go to a different area completely. While being tired isn’t always a sign, it’s a side effect of increasing carbon monoxide.
Be Aware of the Space
Be aware. Following basic space heater safety is simple but often overlooked. Around 55,000 home fires (around 43%) are due to space heaters, so make sure you’re aware of the very real danger these can poses. While it’s easily avoided, these simple precautions could save you from a deadly situation.