The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds consumers to follow safety precautions when purchasing and using electric or fuel-fired space heaters. In a recent year, there were about 10,900 residential fires and about 190 deaths associated with portable or fixed local heaters.
Fuel-burning space heaters also can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and indoor air pollution because of improper venting or incomplete combustion.
"CPSC has worked with industry to improve safety standards for space heaters," said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton, "but consumers must exercise care in how they use space heaters."
Choose a space heater that has been tested
to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally recognized testing
laboratory. These heaters will have
the most up-to-date safety features, while older space heaters may not meet the
newer safety standards.
CPSC worked to upgrade industry standards for electric, kerosene, and vented and unvented gas space heaters.
- An automatic cut-off device is now required to turn off electric or kerosene
heaters if they tip over.
- More guarding around the heating coils of electric heaters and the burner
of kerosene heaters also is required to prevent fires.
- CPSC worked to upgrade the industry standard for unvented gas heaters
to provide an oxygen depletion sensor to shut off the heater if the oxygen
level drops too low.
- CPSC and industry amended the vented heater standard to provide a spill
switch to turn off the heater if the vent is blocked or disconnected.
Look For A Guard
Select a space heater with a guard around the flame area or heating element.
Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs
or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep the heater at least three feet
from bedding, drapes, furniture, or other flammable materials.
Keep Doors Open
Keep doors open to the rest of the house if you are using
an unvented fuel-burning space heater. This helps prevent pollutant build-up
and promotes proper
combustion. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to provide sufficient
combustion air to prevent CO production.
When To Turn It Off
- Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.
- Never place a space
heater close to any sleeping person.
- Turn the space heater off if you leave the area. Keep children and pets
away from space heaters.
A Smoke Alarm
Is A Must
Have a smoke alarm with fresh batteries on each level of
the house and inside every bedroom. In addition, have a carbon monoxide alarm
outside the bedrooms
in each separate sleeping area.
Need Special Heaters
Be aware that mobile homes require specially designed heating equipment.
Have gas and kerosene space heaters inspected annually.
who would like more information can view our booklet, "What You Should Know
about Space Heaters," on the CPSC web site:http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/463.html
Or, receive a free copy by sending a postcard to:
"Space Heater Booklet"
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