Space Heater Safety (Part 2)

Posted on February 2, 2012. Filed under: Personal (Home & Auto) | Tags: , , , , , |

In Part 1, we discussed how to remain safe when using electric space heaters. In Part 2 of this series, we will look at gas-fired and kerosene heaters.

The same safety rules apply to all space heaters but, when using a gas or kerosene heater in your home or office, you also need to pay attention to proper venting. Leaving a door or window open during use will allow fresh air to enter the heated space and will prevent CO buildup. These types of heaters should NEVER be used in a confined space. If you have a heater built before 1983, it may not be equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). The ODS will shut the heater off if the air quality becomes dangerous. You should also ensure that your heater has a pilot safety valve, which will prevent the risk of explosion if the pilot light goes out.

In the event the pilot light goes out:

  • Do NOT attempt to light the pilot if you smell gas. Turn off all controls, open a window or door, and leave the area.
  • Also, if you smell gas, do NOT touch any electrical switches, use a radio or telephone, or smoke in the area. Any spark can ignite gas.
If you are using a stationary device, always have it installed by a professional. And, you may want to consider investing in one of the newer ceramic space heaters, which pose less of a fire hazard than the older style heaters. Regardless of the heater you select, make sure it was tested by an independent laboratory, by looking for the UL label on the packaging.

Finally, ensure you follow the recommended maintenance and inspection guidelines for the heater you own. Even if your heater comes with air quality shut offs, it is a good idea to invest in a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Test the alarms once a month and replace the batteries twice a year (a great way to remember is to replace them when you change your clocks for daylight savings).

There is nothing wrong with wanting to save a little money on your heating bill. But, make sure you do it safely!

Adapted from Risk Management Articles provided by Travelers and

Image: luigi diamanti /

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