Space Heaters Can Be A Major Fire Hazard

Space Heaters Can Be A Major Fire Hazard

Pennsylvania weather is unpredictable, to say the least. It can be snowing with temperatures in the thirties one day, then sunny and seventy degrees the next. To keep up with the cold, many people use space heaters in select rooms throughout a house to keep warm. But, space heaters can actually be quite dangerous.

As a heat source, it seems evident that a space heater can cause a fire. Just last December, a fire caused by a space heater and connected electrical cord resulted in the death of two young children in Schwenksville.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 20,000 residential fires occur every year because of the use of a space heater. In fact, 74 percent of fire-related deaths can be traced back to the use of fixed and portable space heaters with an additional $559 million in direct property damage. But, what can cause this seemingly harmless home appliance to cause a massive blaze? There are many variables that can cause space heaters to go awry, such as:

  • An unlevel surface, where it can easily fall over
  • It’s proximity to flammable objects (at least a 3-foot buffer)
  • Forgetting to turn it off when you leave
  • Using an extension cord, which can result in an electrical fire
  • Putting it in a highly-traveled area of a home, where it can be easily knocked over
  • Having faulty smoke alarms

The type of space heater that is used, such as electric, wood, natural gas, or kerosene, can also present additional hazards. Natural gas and kerosene space heaters can increase the chance of a fire occurring depending on where the flammable substance is placed or stored in a home.

It is important to keep in mind that all fuel-based heaters manufactured after 1983 should have an oxygen depletion sensor built in. This sensor will automatically shut off the heater if it detects a reduced oxygen level. This sensor helps alert household residents of a potential gas or carbon monoxide leak, especially if the house does not have any carbon monoxide sensors. It only takes one spark to ignite a gas leak.

Also, be sure to maintain regular upkeep on the space heater to avoid dust blockage or buildup which can also lead to an untimely fire.


If you suffered an injury or lost a family member because of a fire caused by a space heater, the Fellerman and Ciarimboli Law Firm is ready to help you through this trying time. We are here to fight for the damages you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation.

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