Are Space Heaters Really Safe? (A Science-Backed Explanation)
In the bone-chilling cold of winter, staying warm is one of the most important things we have to be concerned about. Many of us use different heating options to heat our houses in the winter. There are many kinds of heating solutions available on the market, ranging from the simple electric coil heaters to the advanced infrared light space heaters. Each of them has different advantages and disadvantages of their own. Be it an oil filled radiator or a fan heater or an infrared heater you are looking for, there are some safety issues you should always check out before your purchase.
There are mainly two types of heating options for homes. One is the central heating system that can cover the whole house while the other one is the space heater, which is suitable for a specific room. Because of their diversity and flexibility, space heaters are the most popular heating options today. Space heaters mainly transfer heat in two ways, as mentioned below:
Convection is a heat transfer process wherein the hot molecules of a liquid or gas rise and the cool molecules fall, creating a circulation as a result. This process is commonly used in almost all kinds of space heaters. Fan heaters, electric coil heaters, ceramic heaters are a few examples of convection heaters.
Radiation is another heat transfer process where the highly energized electrons of a warmer object transfer their heat energy to the lowly energized electrons of a cooler object via electromagnetic waves. Infrared heaters usually work on this radiation technology. Oil filled radiators also use the radiation technology to a certain extent.
Are Space Heaters Safe to Leave On All Night?
Since space heaters use two different technologies to increase the temperature of a room within a few minutes, there remains the risk of fire hazards, burns, and electrocution accidents. This actually depends on the heating technology and its application. Many of us are concerned about the safety of space heaters. Personally, I once met some parents in a social gathering who asked me a question very anxiously that had been in my mind for a long time, “Are space heaters safe to leave on all night?” To be honest, I had a hard time answering that question. The reason behind that was, there was no clear-cut answer to this question. It depended on the heater type, the product, how users were using that product to fight winter colds and many other things. Generally, if you are using an electric coil heater or a heater that uses a similar kind of old heating technology I would not recommend that you leave the heater on unattended overnight. However, you can assess the safety of oil filled space heaters or other space heaters yourself after reading the next segment of this article.
Features to Look for in a Space Heater
The heating technology is becoming more user-friendly day by day. There are many advanced features available on the newer models, which you won’t find in the older ones. To ensure optimum safety you can look for these features when buying a space heater.
Heaters with an inbuilt thermostat can compare the room temperature with the internal heat of the heater. When the room temperature reaches the heater’s temperature set by you, the heat transfer will be shut down. It will resume automatically if the room temperature drops. Most oil filled radiators are equipped with the thermostat feature that answers your question, “are oil heaters safe to leave on overnight?”
Auto Shutdown or Timer Option
The auto shutdown or timer option is a great feature which enables users to control or program their heaters according to their convenience. For example, you can set a timer to your heater before sleeping if your heater has this option. Most of the newer models fortunately have this timer option that enhances the utility of space heaters for users with headaches, sicknesses or other problems.
Safety Tips of Space Heaters
Only Use Reliable Power Cords:
Space heaters require a specific level of power load and their inbuilt power cords are generally capable of that level of power load. However, if you need to use any extension power line, you must make sure that the cord can take that load. Otherwise, it may lead to severe unwanted consequences.
Don’t Move Your Heater While Switched On:
Most of the space heaters available today are portable. However, never compromise on your safety over convenience. This means you should only move your space heater when it is switched off and cool. The case of oil filled heaters is worth mentioning in this regard. They usually come in without any removable objects and the oil inside them is generally in sealed off metal fins. However, when the oil is hot inside, you should never try to move the heater since it can explode and lead to fire hazards.
Keep Your Heater Away from Inflammable Objects:
It is imperative to keep your heater away from any sorts of inflammable objects, irrespective of what type of heater you use. Convection and radiation – both of these heater types produce immense heat to closer objects. Proper placement of the heater is the key to ensuring safety. Place the heater in such a place which is safe for babies. Don’t keep your heater close to your bed, curtain or other such things. To be safe, don’t place your heater on the carpet since carpets can catch fire quite easily. Also, if possible, try to use any metal objects to place the heater.
Never use your heater as a dryer. It is very unsafe since it can lead to fire hazards which you want to avoid at all costs.
Install A Fire Alarm System
In addition to following all the safety procedures of using a space heater, you must have a fire alarm system installed in your house. This is to ensure a multilayer safety control system against any sorts of fire hazards caused by space heaters. You will not regret this decision when you will have a sound sleep without worrying about the safety of your family.
To conclude, it is always better to be safe than sorry. In case of using a space heater, you should take multiple layers of precaution to prevent any possible accidents. So buy an advanced heater which is safe and suitable for your house.
Categorised in: Heaters