This winter, your space heater may seem like your best friend. Space heaters are effective and convenient for heating one room at a time and reducing utility costs in our harsh Connecticut winters. However, at Miller, Rosnick, D’Amico, August & Butler, P.C., we feel it is important to let you know about the dangers of operating a space heater improperly or using a faulty heater.

Space heaters are responsible for one-third of all home fires in the U.S., as well as four of out five deaths related to heating fires, states the DIY Network. Does this mean your little space heater is a devastating fire waiting to happen? Not necessarily, as long as you take the proper safety precautions each time you turn your heater on.

Most space heater fires are caused by a cord that overheats or combustible material near the heater igniting. To keep this from happening, always place your space heater on a flat, stable surface at least three feet away from objects that might catch fire, such as curtains, papers or blankets. Never use an extension cord with your heater, and keep the heater’s cord in the open and uncovered by rugs or other items. Avoid leaving a heater running in a room with unsupervised children or pets. Turn the heater off when you leave the room and never operate it when everyone in the house is asleep.

You might take the best precautions, yet suffer a fire from a heater that has a defect. It is important to check online for recalls on your specific heater before turning it on for the season or buying a new one. Our product liability page explains more about the hazards you face from dangerous products.