PUT SAFETY FIRST WHEN USING PROPANE SPACE HEATERS
While this winter has been relatively mild here in southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, it can still get pretty cold at night.
If the chill in your bedroom is keeping you from a good night’s rest, you might be tempted to warm up the room by running your propane space heater while you’re sleeping.
DON’T DO IT.
Sleeping with a propane space heater on is dangerous and potentially deadly for you and your family.
According to the National Fire Protection Safety Association, space heaters are a major cause of home fires related to heating. How major? Forty-three percent of home heating fires in the U.S. are caused by space heaters. And 85 percent of the deaths associated with home heating fires occur in fires caused by space heaters.
Space heaters can be dangerous in a few ways. First is where we use them. When heaters are placed too close to combustible items like furniture, mattresses, bedding, clothing, curtains and area rugs — all of which can be found in bedrooms — they can start a fire. In fact, that’s how more than half of the fires caused by space heaters get started.
If you are using a vent-free propane space heater, using it while sleeping puts you in danger of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Because carbon monoxide is odorless, you can take in a dangerous and even lethal amount of it when you’re asleep before the CO detector near your bedroom goes off. When carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream, it replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells. That deprives organs like your heart, lungs and brain the oxygen they need to function. That can lead to injury or death.
As if these dangers aren’t enough to dissuade someone from using space heaters while sleeping and not turning up the thermostat, we have another one: It isn’t efficient and won’t save you money. And if the temperature in your home away from the space heaters gets too low, you could end up with frozen and burst pipes.
SPACE HEATER SAFETY
While sleeping with the space heater on is a bad idea, today’s propane space heaters are still a great idea for providing supplemental heating for unheated and insufficiently heated spaces in your home like garages, finished attics and sunporches.
While safety features have greatly improved propane space heater safety, you still need to use them correctly. We have some tips:
- NEVER leave propane space heaters unattended. Even if you think you’ll only be gone for a minute, turn them off every time you leave the room.
- Carefully read (and re-read) the owner’s manual so you know how to safely operate your space heater.
- Install CO detectors on every level of your home, outside all bedrooms, and in spaces where you use space heaters.
- Check your CO detectors twice a year, and replace the batteries each time.
- If your CO detector is five years old or older, replace it.
- Keep a clear space of at least three feet around the space heater, and keep kids and pets out of that clear space.
- NEVER set anything on your space heater.
- Don’t use your space heater to warm a blanket or throw.
- Have your propane space heater inspected and serviced annually by a professional service technician.
- If you smell gas in your home or around the space heater, DO NOT turn it on! Get everyone out immediately and call 911 and call Blue Flame.
STAY WARM IN BED WITH THE SPACE HEATER OFF
Now that you know not to use a space heater while sleeping, you may be worried about your heating costs if you have to turn up the heat instead. But there’s a way to keep your bedroom warm without that.
- Flannel sheets, thick comforters, more than one blanket, electric blankets and weighted comforters help keep your body heat close to your body.
- Wear flannel or fleece nightclothes, along with socks, for heat retention.
- Don’t get cold feet if you have to get up during the night. Wear slippers.
- Keep daytime heating in the bedroom by closing the curtains or blinds when the sun goes down.
- Get rid of drafts that chill the room by using insulating curtains, weatherstripping, caulk, door sweeps, and expanding foam.
- se the space heater in the evening to warm the room before bedtime. When it’s bedtime, turn the space heater off and close the bedroom door to keep the heat in the bedroom.
Contact the pros at Blue Flame to learn more about propane space heating, or what system may work best in your home. If it runs on propane, we’ll make sure you’re filled up and ready to roll!