When the weather turns cold and the chill of your feet on your bathroom floor does more to wake you up than your morning cup of coffee, you may see your space heater as your favorite appliance this winter. However, as we at the law office of Harris, Harris & Schmid know, space heaters can pose significant dangers for people in Connecticut and elsewhere. Does this mean you should throw away your space heater or decide not to buy one this season? Of course not – but you should understand how to properly use this appliance, as well as how to check for potential hazards.

Space heaters are a significant cause of home fires in the winter, as well as the cause of four-fifths of all deaths related to heating equipment, according to the DIY Network. Some fires and electrocutions are caused by faulty or damaged appliances. Others occur due to improper use. Therefore, you should take note of the following precautions when using your space heater:

  • Always turn the heater off and unplug it before you leave the room.
  • Never allow children and pets to be unsupervised near a running space heater.
  • Place the heater on a flat surface and at least three feet away from combustibles, such as furniture and curtains.
  • Never use an extension cord or run the electrical cord under a rug.

Before you plug in your space heater, check it for signs of wear and tear or damage. You may also want to check online for reports of injuries or fires involving your heater or one you are considering purchasing. Our page on personal injury explains your rights if you are injured by a defective or dangerous product.