Space Heater Safety Checklist

During winter months, many of us turn to space heaters to supplement our home or office heating system. A space heater provides a handy and efficient way to boost a room’s cozy quotient without skyrocketing utility bills. However, using a space heater in your home or office doesn’t come without some risks. To keep your home or workplace comfortably warm without risking a fire hazard, be sure to follow our essential space heater safety tips. In addition to our safety checklist, we’ll review the four primary types of space heaters, examine their pros and cons, and help you select the best one for your specific needs. With proper electric heater safety, you can keep your home or office comfortable all winter long.

Four Main Types of Space Heaters

Before we get to our space heater safety tips, let’s define our terms. What is a space heater? A space heater is a portable electrical appliance used to heat a single room or small space. While they work most effectively in an enclosed area, some space heaters can be used outdoors or to provide localized warmth in large rooms.

There are four main types of space heaters:

  • Fan heaters
  • Ceramic space heaters
  • Radiant and infrared heaters
  • Micathermic panel space heaters

Fan Space Heaters

Fan heaters or blow heaters electrically heat metal coils within the unit, using a fan or blown air to disperse the heat throughout the room. Fan space heaters produce heat the moment they are turned on. They’re typically small, lightweight, easy to operate, and inexpensive. Fan heaters are a simple and efficient way to heat small spaces, but they can circulate dust and allergens along with the heat they produce. Most blow heaters include tip-protection mechanisms and automatic shut-off for electric heater safety. Still, you should never leave a fan heater unattended. That’s an essential space heater safety tip.

Ceramic Space Heaters

Ceramic space heaters are similar to fan heaters but without the fan. The metal heating coils are attached to ceramic panels that absorb and disperse the heat. Like fan heaters, ceramic space heaters are small, portable, and quickly produce heat. Without a fan, ceramic heaters tend to heat small spaces. For the sake of electric heater safety, don’t leave it heating without supervision. Also, these heaters tend to dry out the air, so you may also need to use a humidifier to maintain a comfortable environment.

Radiant & Infrared Space Heaters

These super-quiet, energy-efficient heaters use infrared rays to produce radiant heat. Infrared does not heat the air of your space but rather the solid surfaces of your furniture and body. Infrared heaters also emit an orange glow, providing ambient light as they heat. These space heaters are often used by restaurants to warm their outdoor seating areas. Prolonged exposure to infrared rays can damage your skin, so use these heaters wisely.

Micathermic Panel Space Heaters

Micathermic panel space heaters or mica panel heaters combine convection and radiant heating. They use very thin sheets of mica that emit electromagnetic rays, quickly heating the surrounding air and objects. They operate quietly and efficiently without circulating dust or allergens. Excellent for small spaces, mica panel heaters are less effective at heating large rooms. They also have a higher price point than our other space heaters. While the risk of fire with these heaters is lower than for other heaters on our list, our top space heater safety tip still applies: don’t leave any portable heater operating unattended.

Space Heater Fire Safety Checklist

Safely heat your space without fear of fire or electric shock by following these space heater safety tips from the HVAC experts at Aire Serv®:

  • Purchase your space heater from a reputable retailer, and use it according to factory directions.
  • Plug your space heater directly into the wall, not into an extension cord or a power strip.
  • Use space heaters only on hard, level ground.
  • Keep all flammable materials at least three feet away from any space heater.
  • Do not use your space heater near water (in a bathroom, in a laundry room, or in a kitchen).
  • Do not use your space heater to dry clothing or shoes.
  • Do not leave children or pets unsupervised near a space heater.
  • Turn off your space heater when you exit a room or leave your home.

Keep everyone safe by ensuring your family and co-workers follow these space heater safety tips, too.

How to Choose the Best Space Heater for Your Space

When choosing the best space heater for your space, there are five key factors you should consider in addition to electric heater safety:

  1. Location: Where will the space heater be used?
  2. Capacity: How big of a space heater do you need?
  3. Safety: Is the space heater in a place where pets or people could accidentally bump into it? Is the unit hot to the touch (e.g., hot enough to burn a child or pet) while in use?
  4. Energy Efficiency: How efficient is the unit at keeping an area warm?
  5. Additional Features: Does the unit have a remote control or a timer?

Use the list above to help guide your space heater selection.

Don't Wait Until It's Too Late! Make Space Heater Safety a Priority

When used according to these safety guidelines and the manufacturer’s instructions, a space heater is an effective way to heat a room in your home or office quickly. Follow our space heater safety tips to heat your rooms safely all winter long. Have a space heater or HVAC question? Our comprehensive HVAC services are available to help with all your heating and cooling needs.

Your local Aire Serv is your one-stop HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair solution. Our friendly service professionals arrive in our marked vans, ready to meet your heating and cooling needs. All our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™, so you know you’ll be pleased. Whether you need advice on safety tips for space heaters or heater repair, we’ll make sure you stay warm and comfortable all winter long.

Contact your local Aire Serv by scheduling an appointment online or give us a call for 24/7 emergency service.


Aire Serv locations do not sell or repair space heaters. This article is intended for general guidance only and may not be applicable to every situation. You are responsible for determining the proper course of action for your property and situation. Aire Serv is not responsible for any damages that occur as a result of any advice or guidance derived from blog content.

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