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Be safe when using a space heater

This article was published in April 2020 and may be outdated.

With more people at home, it’s vital to take care when using a space heater. If you must use a space heater as a temporary heat source, follow these safety tips to avoid potential shock and fire hazards:

  • Look for a space heater that has the CSA International Certification mark and check to make sure that it is suitable for your intended use.
  • Choose a model with a tip-over switch that automatically turns off if knocked over and a guard to prevent fingers or flammable objects from touching hot elements.
  • Keep space heaters away from drapery, bedding and other flammable materials.
  • Always inspect cords for signs of damage; plug the space heater directly into the power outlet. Never use an extension cord.
  • Don’t use space heaters in rooms where children are unsupervised. Children may stick their fingers or other objects through the protective guards, which could cause burns or shock.
  • Never use space heaters in damp or wet areas.
  • Space heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Don’t use them to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
  • Turn off the space heater when you go to bed or leave the room. Never leave a space heater unattended and unplug it when not in use.

Remember space heaters are a temporary fix, not a permanent solution. They can have dangerous consequences if used incorrectly. If your home is persistently cold, consult a heating professional or your landlord.

View more information about electrical safety.