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How should you protect yourself when using a space heater?

In a cold state like New York, heating is essential. However, running your heater can mean a high utility bill. Like many Schenectady residents, you might use a space heater to save power and conveniently warm up a small area in your home. To reduce the risk of electrocution, burns or home fires, you should know the proper ways to operate a space heater.

Thousands of home fires and injuries in the country each year are caused by space heaters, according to the Energy Education Council. This does not mean, however, that you should assume all space heaters are dangerous products. When used in the way the manufacturer intended, most space heaters are considered safe for consumers. It is wise to follow these tips when purchasing or using a space heater:

Avoid heaters that do not have the “UL” stamp of approval on the packaging. UL-approved electrical products have been developed and tested for maximum safety. Only use small heaters meant for use in the home; do not use a large industrial heater or a propane-powered appliance inside your house.

Make sure there are at least three feet of open space between your heater and curtains, furniture and other items that may overheat or catch fire. Never leave a heater running unattended. Unplug the appliance when you leave the room.

Do not cover the electrical cord with a rug or furniture leg, which may damage or overheat the cord and increase the risk of fire or electrocution. Never plug a space heater into an extension cord or use with an overloaded power strip.

The manufacturer of an electrical appliance may face liability for a defective product, if you were injured despite using it properly. 

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