10 Most Important Safety Tips for Electric Heater
As the days grow shorter, blustery and cold, many buildings and facilities managers find themselves needing a little extra heat to keep out the chill in normally comfortable workspaces. Keeping operations running as close to normal as possible is key to adapting to seasonal changes, so many operations managers move space heaters into various locations to help workers stay comfortable and maintain their productivity.
That being said, using space heaters indoors requires that all possible safety precautions are observed to prevent property damage, injury or worse. Are you planning to set up electric heaters at your commercial property or at your major event?
Here’s an overview of the ten most important safety tips you need to know:
- Only Use Electric Heaters
Not all space heaters are created equal, and the different types of energy a space heart uses determines whether it can be used indoors, outdoors or in an intermediary space like a garage or workshop. As a rule though, electric space heaters are far safer and more efficient than kerosene or propane heaters for indoor use. Preferred Climate Solutions recommends only using electric heaters since they are far less likely to cause accidents and present a significantly lower fire hazard risk.
- Ensure All Heaters Have Been Tested & Inspected
When you rent from PCS, you can rest easy in the knowledge that every electric heater has been tested and inspected since its last usage date. Additionally, we do not rent or use any equipment that does not have a testing and inspection label from a major electrical testing authority.
- Read All Operator Manuals Carefully
It is unwise to switch on an electric heater without first consulting the manufacturer’s operation manual and getting familiar with the controls and indicators. The PCS technicians who deliver our mobile electric heaters always spend time with the client educating them on safe operation before they leave. This is a part of our commitment to your safety, and provides everyone involved with peace of mind.
- Remember To Turn Heaters Off
Not only is it expensive to run heaters from a utility costs standpoint, but an active electric heater that doesn’t need to run during certain hours of the day is costing you money and presents real potential as a fire hazard. Always shut your heaters off when they are not in use.
- Always Use Heaters As Instructed
Electric climate heaters are meant for that specific purpose: altering the climate within a certain space. They are not intended to be used to dry wet clothes or thaw pipes, and using them for purposes outside of the manufacturer’s intended purpose is asking for trouble. More specifically, you are deliberately creating a fire hazard that may invalidate your fire insurance policy should the fire be sourced back to improper use of a space heater.
- Prepare For The Worst
To adhere to fire safety codes, every room in your building needs to be equipped with a smoke detector, sprinkler system and/or carbon monoxide detector. If you don’t have this fire safety equipment installed at your facility because you operate at a smaller scale, make sure you update your equipment to prevent tragedy. Safety should never be sacrificed to save on operating costs.
- Clear Surroundings
Space heaters and electric heaters work best when placed in high traffic areas. You may need to rearrange furniture or other equipment to accommodate this placement, and you need to make sure that nothing is touching the heater during operation that poses a fire hazard risk.
- Never Use A Powerstrip
The larger units we rent at PCS would never operate off of a power strip, but it is important to note space heaters should never be plugged into power strips or small-gauge extension cords. Space heaters draw a significant amount of current and generate significant amounts of heat within the circuit. Over an extended time period, this can actually cause a power strip to melt or ignite, neither of which is a desirable scenario.
Additionally, only use 14 gauge or larger extension cords with any space heater, as these cables are designed to handle the higher current draw without melting or overheating. Last but not least, never run an extension cord or space heater cord under a rug or carpet, as this can lead to overheating.
- Place on Flat Surfaces Only
When PCS delivers heating units for your facility, we always ensure they are placed on a flat surface to ensure units are secure against bumping or other impacts that could compromise their stability. If you are placing a personal space heater. It is critical you never leave it on furniture, place it in a cabinet or leave it on a table. Tip-over safety shut off is also a must have feature for any small space or personal space heater too, as it can make a significant difference between a close call and a tragedy.
- Incorporate Heaters Into Fire Safety Plan
Corporate fire safety plans should be reviewed and renewed annually, but that doesn’t mean that including space heater usage always makes the cut. Be certain that your company’s safety committee has reviewed the potential hazards of using electrical heaters, and that they are mentioned/discussed in the fire safety plan.
Protocols and procedures should also be included to better direct first responders in the event of a fire at your facility as well. After all, if a space heater is a source of ignition, and they haven’t cut power to the building, it puts everyone at risk.
Keeping your workers warm and productive during the winter months is important, but you also need to be operating safely, too. Be sure to review any changes to your safety plan with employees and educate them on safety protocols and operation for your electric heaters. You will be glad you did.