When it gets cold outside the first thing some people do if they need some extra heat is to go out to the nearest hardware store and buy a space heater.
While these can be convenient during extreme cold, how you plug them in can make all the difference. Do it right and your toes will be warm. Plug it in wrong and your whole house could catch fire. Power strips may have a lot of extra sockets, but they can only handle so much. One mistake could burn your house down, or even take a life.
Your space heater typically gets very hot and it has ways in place to turn itself off in case of a tip over, or if it gets close to overheating. Most people don’t realize that your extension cord can also get very hot.
A Fire Department in Oregon issued a public service announcement on Facebook about the consequences of combining power strips and space heaters:
“The weather is getting colder, and people are pulling out their space heaters. We just wanted to remind you that you should NEVER plug a heater into a power strip. These units are not designed to handle the high current flow needed for a space heater and can overheat or even catch fire due to the added energy flow. Please share and stay safe this Winter season.”
Even the Firefighters are not immune to this mistake. In a PSA posted to Facebook they shared a photo of their own cord that caught fire from a space heater.
The National Safety Fire Administration reports that half of all home fires from heaters occur during December, January, and February. in the past 5 years heating equipment has accounted for 56,000 home fires.
Share this and make sure you or someone you care about does not become one of those statistics! If you plan on using a space heater this Winter, make sure you use it properly.