Wow, temperatures sure are chilly in Indianapolis now! Many of us are looking for ways to stay warm, whether it be wearing wool socks or turning up the heat. This time of year, many people break out electric space heaters and electric blankets to keep warm and cozy. While using these devices this winter, it’s important to use them safely. Follow these guidelines for electric blanket use and space heater safety, and keep these tips in mind when it comes time to plug in.
How to Safely Use a Space Heater
- Plug it in properly. When using a space heater, make sure to plug it in directly to a wall outlet. Inspect the unit, cord, and plug for damage before using it. Make sure the plug fits snug in the outlet. It may be tempting to use an extension cord or multiple outlet adapter, but doing so can cause problems. Space heaters use more wattage than some standard extension cords are designed to handle.
- Consider the circuit. Because they require so much power, you may find that using your space heater causes the circuit breaker to trip. Most of the outlets in living rooms and bedrooms are likely 15-amp or 20-amp circuits, which can handle powering small appliances and lamps. Adding a space heater to the mix can overpower the circuit, especially if other devices are on the same circuit. Try finding a plug on a different circuit without other electric devices plugged in, or adding a dedicated circuit for your space heater.
- Keep the surrounding area clear. When using a space heater, keep the area around it free and clear to prevent items from catching fire. Try to keep a 3-foot area clear at the least. Curtains, blankets, papers, and other flammable objects should be kept away from your space heater. Also, place the space heater in an area where it won’t be knocked over, so it won’t trip people or pets.
- Never leave a space heater on unattended. Keep children and pets away from a space heater to prevent burns, because its exterior can get very hot to the touch. It’s best to turn off and unplug when you are not using your space heater.
- Make sure your space heater is approved for the area you intend to use it in. If you want to use a space heater in wet areas, like bathrooms, make sure you’ve got one that is designed for a wet environment to reduce the risk of electrical shock.
How to Safely Use an Electric Blanket
- Inspect for damage. Electric blankets and heating pads don’t use as much energy as a space heater, but you should still inspect these items before using them. Make sure there is no damage to the cord, plug, or the blanket itself.
- Treat your blanket with care during use. While you’ll typically use them in bed or while curled up on the couch, don’t place items on top of the electric blanket when in use. Also, you shouldn’t fold an electric blanket when in use.
- Electric blankets should be used as a covering only. Never use heating pads between your body and the mattress, couch, or chair to prevent dangerous overheating.
- Never use a damp electric blanket. If your electric blanket is washable, make sure it is completely dry before you plug it in to use; otherwise, you risk electrical shock.
- Never use an electric blanket while you sleep. If you're asleep, you won't be aware if temperatures start getting too hot and you could risk a serious burn.
Frye Electric wants you to stay safe and comfortable this winter. If you have a space heater that’s giving you trouble, contact us today and we can plan a solution to keep your circuit breaker from tripping when you’re trying to stay warm. If you have any questions about the safe use of electrical products in your home, we’d be happy to answer them.