If you’re interested in reducing the costs associated with central heat, a space heater may be perfect for your Fort Collins home. By using a strategy called “zone heating,” you can turn your most-used rooms into comfortable spaces and reduce your thermostat. This reduces the amount of energy your home uses. However, you should know how to buy and use your space heater safely. We suggest that you call Chadwick Services to inspect your electrical system before plugging it in.
Before you buy your space heater
First, know how much space you’re heating. Indoor space heaters are measured by watts. Buying a heater that emits too much wattage may result in higher energy bills. Meanwhile, too little wattage won’t heat your space and may overheat. According to Sylvan, a general rule of thumb, “roughly 10 watts of heating power for every square foot of floor area in the room.”
For safety reasons, make sure the unit you’re looking at is Safety Certified by a company like UL, which independently tests for safety. Also, ensure the cord is heavy duty and long enough to reach the outlet. You can also buy units with safety features like tip-over, overheat, and touch protection.
Before you turn it on
When you get home, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re functioning properly. Next, don’t place your space heater on any furniture and keep it at least three feet away from combustible furniture. This includes beds, sofas, window treatments, rugs, etc.
Keep the space heater away from water and establish a child and pet-free zone. Enforce the zone at all times and don’t allow anyone to operate the heater without proper training.
Make sure the space heater is securely plugged directly into the unit. You increase your chance of fires by using an extension cord or by running the unit’s cord under a rug. Regularly inspect the cord to make sure it’s not frayed, cracked, or broken.
Regular safety maintenance
In addition to checking the cord, make sure you turn your space heater off every time you leave the bed or go to bed. Don’t leave a space heater on overnight or when you’re not monitoring it. Some units come with a timer that will allow you to control when it’s on or off, but it’s a good idea to make sure it turns off.
As we discussed before, perform regular maintenance on your smoke and CO detectors.
Types of space heaters:
Now that you know how to use your space heater safely, here are the types you will likely choose from. A word of caution: never use a gas-powered heater indoors. Those should only be used in well-ventilated spaces.
Oil-filled space heaters are great for small rooms or for personal use. They’re usually portable and come with handles and wheels to move from room to room. The oil inside never needs to be replaced and they’re silent because they don’t use fans.
Ceramic space heaters are among the most common and use fan-forced air. They’re compact and are ideal for areas up to 150-square-feet.
Infrared space heaters are generally the most energy efficient. They’re great for personal use because they produce heat quickly and without a fan.
While you shouldn’t use these types of space heaters to heat your entire home or treat them as a long-term heating solution, they can be very useful and efficient in the winter months.
Inspect your wiring before installing a space heater by calling Chadwick Electric Services today.
With an average of 34,000 electrical fires being reported annually, it’s important to know what you can do as a homeowner to avert disaster. Here are some tips to ensure that will help you prevent electrical fires in your Northern Colorado home.
Install GFCIs: Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters throughout your home to prevent fires because they automatically shut down if a circuit is overloaded or at risk.
Install an AFCI: Arc-fault Circuit Interrupters detect electrical abnormalities and shut down the circuit before it overheats. If you have an older home, it’s a good idea to replace your circuit breaker with an AFCI since arc faults are nearly impossible to catch before there’s a fire.
Update your electrical system: Ideally, electrical systems should be updated every 10 years. Now that so many households are adding more and more technology, it’s a good idea to make sure your current wiring is able to handle the load.
Know when you have faulty wiring: Faulty wiring can be a huge problem for older structures. These are the signs you should be aware of:
- Light switches are hot to the touch
- Outlets spark when you plug something in
- Flickering light bulbs
- Lights dim when you use appliances
- Outlets are buzzing, hissing, or crackling
- Circuit breakers are constantly tripping or shorting
- Wires or fuse boxes are hot to the touch
- Burning smell from an outlet
Check your outlets: Make sure that all of your outlets are tight and fitted to the wall – loose-fitting plugs can be a fire and shock hazard. You should also replace any broken or missing plates to avoid having exposed wiring, and put protective covers on any unused plugs if you have children.
Don’t tamper with plugs: You should NEVER remove the third prong from plugs. It’s better to replace your two-conductor outlet if you need to use a three-pronged plug. You should also avoid bending prongs and follow all manufacturer instructions while installing appliances.
Use surge protectors: If you need to plug in multiple items, you should invest in a surge protector to make sure you don’t overload your outlet.
Replace damaged cords: If you notice fraying or cracking on your cords, you should replace them. Most appliances have the replaceable cords available through the manufacturer.
Know where to run your cords: You create a hazardous environment when you run electrical cords under carpets, furniture, or rugs because you’re not able to tell if the cord becomes damaged or overheated.
Unplug small appliances: It’s a good habit to unplug smaller appliances when they’re not in use anyway, but you can lower the probability of them catching fire if they’re disconnected.
Use correct bulbs: Avoid using bulbs with higher watts than your lighting fixture recommends, or replace your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs to reduce the heat created when your light is on.
Are you worried about electrical fires in your home? Call us today for an inspection. We also offer 24-hour emergency services!
You may not think about the wiring in your home every time you flip a light switch or plug in an electronic device. But you rely on a safe, efficient
electrical system to keep your home comfortable, safe, and well-lit.
When making an electrical change or trying to identify the source of an electrical issue, your first step may be to schedule an inspection.
In this blog, we list some of the most common reasons to have a residential electrical inspection and what you can expect from the inspection process.