With the weather turning colder, a common and popular way to provide supplementary or emergency heat is by using a space heater. Given the rise in heating fuel prices, space heaters can sometimes provide a cheaper heating supplement to an existing home heating system. Additionally, space heaters may be used as the primary heat during cold weather for construction site heating, where heat is required for workers.
Space heaters have come a long way from kerosene heaters and can now be electric or fueled by propane or natural gas. However, there are still many hazards associated with their use, even though some may have added safety features to prevent accidents, such as:
- Warnings and instructions for use with regard to fuels, fueling, and/or electrical service requirements
- Information about the size of the room where the space heater is to be used
- Space and clearance requirements for objects around the heater and what types of objects should not be placed near a heater
- Tip-over sensors or shut-off devices to turn off the heater or halt combustion if it is tipped over
- Guidance on how long to wait in between fueling or attempting to relight the device
- Ventilation requirements
- Requirements for supplementary warning devices, such as smoke or carbon monoxide detectors
- Over-temperature sensors to shut off the device
- Temperature controllers to turn the device on and off automatically
Unfortunately, not all of the safety features above are applicable to all space heaters, and fire and/or other incidents can occur when these devices fail or are used improperly.
ARCCA’s engineers are experienced and qualified to analyze incidents involving space heaters, which generally include investigations to determine fire cause and origin, biomechanical/human factors, and warnings and instructions issues.