Growing up in a warmer climate, I never needed a space heater or any similar appliance to keep myself warm.
This was even the case during the winter when the temperatures were still high enough not to need heating in my childhood home.
Since moving up north a couple of years ago, the dramatic temperature difference practically forced me to buy a space heater.
My apartment was small, and I didn’t need to use central heating since it would cost me more.
And I can say with confidence that I don’t regret it one bit as the space heater is a compact and economical tool that can easily do the job when I’m at home.
That said, I did have some safety concerns with my space heater.
I bought a ceramic space heater, so I could rest assured that I was using one of the safer options.
But to keep myself on the safer side, I decided to research whether I should use a surge protector with my space heater.
A quick search on the web revealed that this is not a good idea and is far from the safest way to use your space heater.
It terrified me because I had harmlessly done it a few times before with no issues!
And in this arctic, I’ll explain why it’s super dangerous.
Besides showing why you shouldn’t plug your space heater in a surge protector, I’ll also discuss some best practices for using the space heater as safely as possible.
Should You Plug In Your Space Heater into a Surge Protector?
A surge protector might be a good idea if it’s your first time using a space heater at home.
After all, it can protect the device from surges, which could potentially cause a fire.
At least, that’s what I thought when I got my first space heater back in the day.
However, I learned there are better ideas than plugging your space heater into a surge protector.
Most manufacturers recommend against plugging your space heater into a surge protector as the extra electrical components could overload the circuit.
Or, the surge protector could add more resistance to the device, which will cause it to heat up way more, increasing the risk of fires.
When you plug in a space heater directly into the wall outlet, you know that the outlet can handle the space heater.
Surge protectors, on the other hand, are very different.
Some surge protectors may not be able to handle your space heater.
So, if you have a new space heater and you’re wondering about the safest place to plug it in, plug it straight into the wall.
That is the safest and easiest way to ensure that your space heater receives the right power.
Tips for Using a Space Heater Safely
Avoiding surge protectors is a great way to make sure you’re using your space heater in the safest way possible.
However, I recommend following more safety practices when using your space heater to ensure you don’t risk an unnecessary fire.
So, here are some of the best safety practices I follow, which will come in handy for first-time space heater users.
Plug It Directly into the Wall
I already brushed over this, but I want to emphasize it again because of its importance.
If you have a new space heater, you want to plug it directly into a wall outlet that is rated to handle the space heater.
Avoid surge protectors, extension cables, plug timers, or similar.
Adding electrical components to the circuit could increase fire risks when using a space heater.
Leave It on the Floor
I’m really sensitive to the cold, so when I got my space heater, I immediately thought to place it on a table so that the heat reaches my face.
That way, I’d feel more comfortable and warmer, even during the coldest nights.
However, most experts and manufacturers say that you should place your space heater on the floor and leave it there.
A space heater must lie on as flat a surface as possible to be effective and used safely.
If you place your space heater on an elevated surface, it’s at risk of falling down, breaking or even causing a fire.
This is the case with any appliance, including all-in-one heater appliances.
For example, one place you are never supposed to place your space heater is on the bed, as all the flammable materials on the bed pose a fire risk.
Additionally, most modern space heaters are designed so that you won’t be able to tilt it past a certain angle.
That way, it remains balanced and won’t tip over.
Even if you can find a way around this and tilt the space heater to better reach your face or upper body, don’t.
You want to be as safe as possible when using your space heater.
It’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, as they know best when safely operating the space heater.
Never Leave Your Space Heater Unattended
If no one is in the room, it’s best to leave the space heater off.
I understand it’s tempting to keep the space heater constantly running so that you feel the warmth the second you enter the room again.
However, this is one of the most dangerous things you can do with your space heater and is one of the most common ways space heaters cause fires.
Space heaters are designed with many safety features, but there are still risks that come with running one at home.
For example, if you live with kids and pets, they could accidentally knock over the space heater while you aren’t looking, which can cause a fire.
So, to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible, only turn on the space heater when you or another adult is in the room.
You can address the situation immediately if someone knocks it over or something goes wrong.
Fires from space heaters usually don’t start instantly, so even if the heater does fall over, you will have plenty of time to react.
Keep It Out of Reach of Children
Another thing you’d want to do if you have a space heater keeps it away from your child’s reach.
If you have children at home, they could accidentally knock it down, damage it, or use it unsafely.
This is also true if you have pets at home for the same reasons.
When you first get the space heater, I recommend teaching your children how to use it properly and the risks of not using it properly.
That way, they know not to use the heater without adult supervision.
But again, to stay as safe as possible, you should ensure that the space heater is always out of reach for children.
Check Your Smoke Alarms
You never know what could go wrong when you own a space heater, even if you have a relatively safe model.
Suppose you follow the best safety practices and manufacturer instructions.
In that case, there’s a high chance that you’ll never have to deal with fire from your space heater.
However, if a fire occurs, you want to ensure that your house fire detectors can sense it immediately.
So, when you start using your space heater, ensure all your smoke alarms are functioning properly.
That way, you will get an alert immediately if there’s a fire, and you can take quick action.
Ideally, you want to check your smoke alarms monthly to ensure they’re working correctly.
If the batteries are dead, replace them immediately, so the alarms are always ready to detect a potential fire.
Don’t Cover the Space Heater
When your space heater works, it will continuously spread heat into your space to make it warm.
As a result of that, one thing you definitely don’t want to do is cover the space heater with clothing or any other objects.
Doing so will prevent the space heater from effectively spreading the heat, which will cause the heat to build up.
This can damage your space heater and set the clothes or object you’ve covered the heater with on fire.
Keep At a Distance From Flammable Objects
When you set up your space heater for the first time, I highly suggest keeping it away from flammable objects.
This includes bedsheets, pillowcases, rugs, and anything similar.
There’s something known as the “3-foot rule” with space heaters, which I highly suggest following when using one.
I found out about it on a forum, and it made a lot of sense, so I’ve been practicing it since.
This rule states that your space heater should be at least three feet away from any flammable objects when you’re using it.
That way, the risk of accidental fire is reduced to a minimum.
Keep It Away From Water
Another crucial tip if you have a space heater is to keep it away from water sources.
As you should know, electronics and water don’t mix well.
Most space heaters are not designed to be waterproof or water-resistance.
So, unless your space heater explicitly states that it is water resistant, keep it far from water.
That way, there’s a smaller chance of people accidentally spilling water on the space heater, which can be very dangerous.
Suppose you have any worries about safety when using a space heater.
In that case, you could also opt for a heater air purifier combo.
I owned one just over a year ago, which served me well for several years.
What Type of Space Heater Is the Safest?
One of the ways you can avoid unnecessary risks when using a space heater is simply by choosing a space heater that’s generally considered safer than others.
When you head to the space heater market, you’ll find many different space heaters available.
But of all the options, an electric ceramic space heater is generally considered the better choice in terms of safety.
That’s the one I bought, and it makes sense for me in terms of safety because I live in an apartment.
These space heaters work by electrically heating a ceramic plate which either radiates heat or has a fan that blows air over the plate to produce warm air.
They are safer than others because of the ceramic heating plate itself.
Ceramic is a solid material built to last, so you don’t have to worry about the ceramic heater breaking on you unexpectedly.
Additionally, these heaters run on electricity and don’t need propane or oil.
This means much fewer flammable materials are involved in heating up a specific area of your home, so there’s a much smaller fire risk.
If you’re buying a space heater for your home, I recommend getting a ceramic space heater.
These are efficient, safe, and work exceptionally well at warming up your space.
That said, these space heaters usually work for small areas only.
So I’d suggest staying away from them if you’re looking to heat up an entire house or a large room.
Remember, space heaters aren’t designed to heat whole homes, so if you want a heater for the entire family, consider a central heating unit.
Can I Leave My Space Heater On Overnight?
You can leave it on overnight with a modern electric ceramic space heater.
This remains true for most modern electric heaters like infrared, propane, and others.
However, keep in mind that if you’re asleep, you might not be able to react to something going wrong right away.
This is why you must follow the best practices above if you use a space heater overnight.
That way, you’ll dramatically reduce the risk of fire while you’re asleep.
Additionally, leave space heaters on overnight if you trust that the heater will work without any issues the whole night.
Suppose you believe that your space heater needs any maintenance.
In that case, I recommend fixing the issue before using the space heater overnight.
Should You Use a Surge Protector With a Space Heater? Conclusion
If you have a space heater, safety should be your top priority.
And while space heaters might sound like the safest option, using a surge protector with your space heater is not a good idea.
In fact, it can lead to many problems down the line.
It would help if you plugged your space heater directly into a wall outlet with the correct rating for your space heater.
On top of that, I also suggest following the best safety practices mentioned above to ensure you use your space heater efficiently and safely.