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July 27, 2017

How Portable Heaters Can Be a Dangerous Choice

People often turn to portable heaters because they think they are a cost effective choice. As electrical contractors in Sydney, we understand people’s desire to save on their heating bills, but portable heaters aren’t without their dangers, and they are not all that cheap to run either.

If you’re considering using portable heaters as a source of heating this coming winter, here are a few things to bear in mind.

They are not necessarily more efficient

Portable heaters or space heaters can be effective in heating a small room, but they are not the cheapest option. In fact, according to Sustainability Victoria, a portable heater can cost three times as much as a split system air conditioner to run for a year – even in a small room. Fixed heating options will typically work out to be more efficient and cheaper in the long run, especially for larger spaces.

A possible fire risk

Because portable heaters are usually used in small spaces, they’re often in close proximity to flammable materials, and may pose a fire risk if they are left unattended or used incorrectly, such as being placed on an uneven surface.

Portable Heaters

Contact can result in burns on older types

Older portable heaters with exposed heating elements or coils can cause contact burns, especially where small children are involved. If you’re considering using space heaters, always opt for newer models that meet current safety standards and that have features such as a protective housing and a cut-off switch.

They’re often not maintained

Portable heaters are usually stored for most of the year and are brought out when the weather turns cool. If they are not stored properly, they can be damaged, for example by vermin nibbling on cords. A poorly maintained portable heater that isn’t checked before use can pose a fire risk.

Safety tips for portable heaters

If you will be using a portable heater this winter, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind.

• Use portable heaters only on hard, level surfaces

• Keep portable heaters well away from textiles and flammable materials

• Keep pets and children away from portable heaters

• Turn off heaters when you’re not in the room

• Ensure that your portable heaters are regularly inspected

• Have a functioning fire alarm installed

• Have a fire evacuation plan ready

As heating options go, portable heaters are probably at best a supplementary choice. As your experienced emergency electrician in Sydney, we recommend alternative fixed heating options for staying warm and snug this winter.