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Sleeping With Space Heaters On: Don’t Do It

Date: October 26, 2020

space heater safety tennessee

When a cold snap comes our way this winter in Tennessee, it may be tempting to leave a propane space heater running in your bedroom so you can get extra warmth while you’re asleep. Don’t do it.

Even though today’s propane space heaters come with many safety features, using propane space heaters while sleeping is never recommended because of the risks involved. Just take a look at these disturbing statistics.

Space Heater Statistics

  • Space heaters account for 43% of home heating fires in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
  • Space heaters cause 85% of the deaths associated with home heating fires.
  • More than half of these fires are the result of heaters being positioned too close to combustible materials like furniture, mattresses, curtains, bedding or clothing.
  • Another risk of using propane space heaters while sleeping is carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Since CO is an invisible odorless and colorless toxic gas, you may be susceptible to this if a space heater is not properly vented, especially while you’re asleep.

Besides comfort, you may also think you can save money by operating portable heaters in some rooms instead of turning the thermostat up, but you likely won’t. Turning your thermostat down too low will also increase the risk of your water pipes freezing and even bursting. This can cause a lot of damage to your home.

Using Space Heaters Safely

On the other hand, it’s true that propane space heaters can be a good solution to adding much-needed heat in chilly areas like home additions, garages, sunporches and finished attics during the day, But again, you need to follow all safety protocols. Here are some tips.

  • Do not leave propane space heaters unattended, even while you’re awake. If you’re leaving the room, even if it’s for just a few minutes, turn the heaters off.
  • Place your freestanding space heater on a level floor, never on a table or chair because there’s a chance they can fall off.
  • Have your space heater inspected and maintained annually. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance.
  • Keep at least three feet of clear space around your heater, and make sure children don’t get any closer than that.
  • Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, and outside all bedrooms. Check the detectors twice a year, replace the batteries as recommended, and replace any detectors that are more than five years old.
  • If you smell gas around the space heater, don’t turn it on. Get everyone out of the house right away and call 911.

Contact your local propane company if you have questions about propane space heaters. Read more about using space heaters safely.