With the coldest months of the year arriving, heating systems are being pulled out of storage, ready to be turned on any time soon. According to firefighters, people should be warned on time about things they should never plug into a power strip so as to prevent a fire.
Space heaters are really popular heating devices among people when the winter season starts. We all want to feel warm and cozy when the weather gets really cold outside. With the heating season starting soon, Oregon firefighters devoted one of their Facebook posts to warn people not to plug a space heater into a power strip. Regarding people’s safety, Oregon firefighters’ tip number one was not to plug these heaters into a power strip since they are not made to be able to handle the high current flow they need. Therefore, due to the added energy flow they can overheat or even catch a fire.
Their post went viral since as it turns out, many people were not aware of the danger these heating devices were to cause.
Plugging Space Heaters Into a Power strip – a fire starter!
Sharing space heater safety tips is not a matter of interest only for the Oregon fire department. There is a story about a house caught on fire because of a misuse of a space heater, shared by the Toledo Fire Department in Ohio. The fire, caused by the heater, started from the couch and soon after that, the whole house was burning in flames.
Be aware of the limits of your power strip!
Bear in mind that you should never overload your power strip because that’s when it starts causing fires. You must never forget that your power strip can draw so much electricity without getting overload. Take a look at the package of your power strip because that’s where you can find information on the series of numbers, referring to the power it can handle.
From the fire department inform that space heaters can reach up to 600 degrees in Fahrenheit, so it’s essential for everyone who uses them to do it safely. Their tips are the following:
- When using space heaters, make sure that you are always in the room, keeping an eye on it. You should never leave it unattended while working.
- Instead of plugging into a power strip, always place space heaters directly into a wall unit
- It’s always better to place these heaters on level, flat surfaces
- Placing heaters on tables, furniture, cabinets or a carpet is never a good idea
- Keep the bare minimum of three feet of space around the space heater
- Go through manufacturer’s instructions and make sure to keep space heaters clean and maintain them accordingly
The Consumer Product Safety Commission informs that portable electric space heaters cause 1,200 fires a year. In their post, the Oregon firefighters explain that if people are smart and safe, there is nothing wrong with using a space heater. They point out that everything’s in the proper use. No matter the quality of the equipment. Even the best one can be misused if not following the instructions given by the manufacturer carefully.
Tips That Would Prevent Electrical Fires at Home
One can be fire-safe if following the tips offered below:
- Keep all power-hungry appliances unplugged when not in use.
Some of them are:
- Hairstyling tools
Besides of the above mentioned appliances, you should do the same with anything that produces heat when turned on. It also includes anything that can overheat or catch a fire when left on for too long.
- Extension Cords are for temporary use only. Do not use extension cords 24/7, because they are meant for temporary use only. Make sure you contact an electrician to install additional outlets if you require them.
- Keep the third prong. The third prong on a power cord is there to protect against power surges and malfunctions. Consider updating two-pronged outlets in your home.
- Keep your electrical system updated. If your electrical system hasn’t been updated for quite a long time, contact an electrician to evaluate it and definitely consider upgrading it. The older and less advanced systems have bigger chances to overheat and cause fires.
- Using damaged power cords is definitely not a good idea. Do not use the power cord if it has a damage of any kind – frayed, a broken prong, loose from its plug, or cracked.
- Appliance directions are there to follow! Appliance directions are put there so as to keep you safe. Appliances always come with a manual which has a section on fire safety, as well as information on where to be notified of recalls.
- Trouble signs are there to keep you safe – do not ignore them! If your appliance is overheating or if there’s something wrong with the socket it’s plugged into, there are some signs that keep you alert:
- The appliance, power cord, or outlet is hot to the touch
- A frequently tripping breaker or fuse
- Burning smell while the appliance is in use
- Electrical sparks or shock every time the appliance is plugged in
- Burn marks or discoloration around a socket or light fixture
- Flickering light even after the bulb is replaced
Last, but not the least, smoke detectors are good for protecting your home since you cannot be watching over your power strips 24/7, which is why smoke detectors are here to help you catch a fire before it gets out of control.