Consumers Energy Offers 7 Tips for Safe Space Heater Use

Warm Your Home in Cold Weather, but Take Simple Precautions

Jan 20, 2016, 06:00 ET from Consumers Energy

JACKSON, Mich., Jan. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With frigid temperatures continuing their grip on Michigan, Consumers Energy is offering safety tips for those who choose to use space heaters in addition to conventional heating.

"Space heaters can provide extra comfort during cold weather, but if not used properly they can also be a safety hazard," said Aaron Kantor, director of emergency management and public safety for Consumers Energy. Portable heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

"With a few simple precautions, you can protect yourself and your family while safely supplementing specific heating needs," Kantor said.

He noted that safety begins with the purchase, and recommended that space heaters be certified by the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) or another nationally recognized testing organization. Other tips recommended by Kantor:

  1. Consider the size of the area you want to heat. A heater that is too small or too large for any area can waste energy without providing the extra comfort needed.
  2. Look for space heaters with a guard around the heating element, and keep children and pets away from space heaters as the surface can get very hot.
  3. Avoid using fuel-fired heaters in enclosed areas as they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, an invisible gas caused by the incomplete combustion of fuels or malfunction of related appliances.
  4. Place heaters on level, hard, nonflammable surfaces, not on rugs and carpets.
  5. Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, furniture and drapes. Never use heater to dry clothes or shoes.
  6. When plugging in electric heaters, avoid using an extension cord. Do not run cords under rugs or carpet.
  7. Never leave a space heater operating when you go to sleep or leave the area.

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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SOURCE Consumers Energy