Make space heaters less risky

Last reviewed: October 2010

Portable space heaters cause an estimated 21,650 home fires and 1,512 fire-related injuries and deaths each year.

  • Look for a safety-certification label from an independent testing organization, such as the UL mark from Underwriters Laboratories, the ETL label from Intertek, or certification from CSA International.
  • Check the power cord for cracks, fraying, loose connections, and broken plugs; repair or replace the heater if you find any damage. Most manufacturers recommend against using extension cords.
  • Keep children, pets, and flammable items at least 3 feet from the heater.
  • Don't use heaters on uneven surfaces, near foot traffic, or in children's rooms.
  • Never leave a heater on unattended or while you're sleeping.