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Space Heater Danger May Be Lurking in Your Home

Steve Wagner

One of the most common causes of house fires is probably something you are aware of as a danger, but I’m guessing you have no idea exactly how dangerous the item is. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 32% of all home fires and 79% of all home heating fire deaths are caused by space heaters. With the long-term cold settling in over Indianapolis and most of Indiana, many residents use space heaters to warm a single room while keeping the overall home temperature down lower. This can be especially useful at night, as you can turn the thermostat down significantly and use a space heater to keep your bedroom warm while you sleep. As much sense as that makes, you may be putting yourself at risk by leaving the space heater on while you are not awake.

The potential dangers of space heaters are many: they often get knocked over, left too close to flammable items, or are left unattended for long periods of time. All of these significantly increase the risk of a major home fire causing injury or death. Space heaters really can be a great addition to your home during winter months and can help with supplemental heating in your home, but safety precautions MUST be taken when using them. Follow these simple safety tips if you want to greatly reduce your risk of a home fire caused by a space heater:

  • Never leave space heaters unattended or set on high levels while you are sleeping. If you are leaving your home, turn the heaters off. Keep nighttime use at a minimum.
  • Keep space heaters away from flammable items. Leaving them close to bedding, using them on a carpeted surface, or even leaving them turned on too close to the Christmas tree can quickly lead to a fire. Follow the heater’s instructions on safe distances and location/placement of the heater to help prevent overheating and fires.
  • Do not let children operate space heaters. Though they may visibly look safe to touch on the exterior, especially to a child’s eye, space heaters are often extremely hot to the touch. Children can easily sustain serious burn injuries simply by touching a space heater.
  • Pay attention to safety ratings and label warnings. Never use a space heater that has been malfunctioning or appears to have worn wiring or parts.
  • Install appropriate smoke and CO2 detectors in your home to protect you in case of fumes or a fire.
  • Make sure your home stays well ventilated. Keep your chimney cleaned out well and ductwork professionally maintained.

If you and your family fall victim to a fire caused by a home heating product, the makers of the product may bear some responsibility if there is any kind of manufacturing or design defect OR if they failed to provide reasonable warnings about the dangers of the product’s use. The personal injury and product liability attorneys at Indianapolis-based Wagner Reese may be able to help you recover damages. Call us today for an absolutely free consultation: (888) 204-8440.


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