Space heaters were designed to warm areas that aren’t amply heated by central heat and air. Yet more and more often they are being used as a substitute for central heat and air altogether. The top reasons for this trend:
- Furnace is not working or at least not efficiently enough.
- Trying to minimize the electric or gas bill.
- Heating rooms that don’t have vents from the central heating.
- Home uses old-style wall furnace, and far-away rooms have to be warmed with a space heater.
Space heaters are a great risk to you and your property and should only be used when absolutely necessary. Here’s just how dangerous they are: The National Fire Protection Association estimates that between 2009 and 2013, heating equipment caused more than 56,000 home fires in the United States. Space heaters were the cause of 40% of these fires, and caused 5 out of 6 (84%) of the deaths resulting from all house fires caused by heating equipment.
It’s obvious we have become too reliant on space heaters. Office employees use them, bank tellers have them at their feet, and you can find them at most store checkout counters, in cabins, and even in tents.
Because of this, the leading factor in fatal home fires is ironically too little ‘space’ between the heater and flammable materials.
Since it is so difficult to make a space heater “safe” we only recommend them as a short-term solution while waiting on your central heat system to be repaired. They’re easily tampered with by children, their size makes them difficult to secure, and they usually have scalding hot surfaces, or white-hot elements just inches behind a guard.
If safety doesn’t convince you, you may be surprised to find out that they likely cost you more money. Many people are under the assumption that heating one room is more cost effective than using central heating and air to heat the whole house. Let us provide you with a case study.
We knew a neighbor that was using a space heater to heat her 850 sq ft condo last year (2016) to avoid paying a company to come out and repair her unit. Her electric bill prior to this was averaging $55 a month or $1.83 a day. Want to guess what it was using the space heater? Nearly a whopping $150!! $5 a day, nearly triple her utility bill. They simply aren’t designed to heat large spaces so they are less efficient and will need to run constantly. Since they fail the two greatest tests of Safety and Efficiency. We say stay away from space heaters as a long-term solution for home heating needs.