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WVU Extension offers space heater safety tips

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As the heart of winter descends upon West Virginia, bitterly cold temperatures forecasted for much of the area may prompt residents to use portable space heaters to add to primary heat sources, such as central air; however, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission in a 2017 article, caution and due diligence should be the key to using these devices effectively since they’re a source of approximately 1,100 house fires and 50 deaths per year. The peak season for accidents is December to February as the weather is naturally colder. West Virginia University Extension Service has tips and resources to help ensure the safe use of space heaters.

Quotes and comments

“Space heaters can be an effective source of additional heat, but they require some planning when purchasing and extreme attention during usage. Many newer space heaters have safety features built in, but that doesn’t exclude them from being dangerous. Those who are using them really need to read the owner’s manual and heed all warnings during operation.” – Tom Stockdale, WVU Extension Service Safety and Health Extension electrical safety specialist.


A few tips for general space heater safety are linked below, but the overarching theme is to read and comply with the full instruction manual and all warning labels. 

WVU Extension Service Space Heater Safety

Consumer Product Safety Commission article 

Tom Stockdale, WVU Extension Service Safety and Health Extension electrical safety specialist (Office: 304-293-3089 and cell: 304-288-7092) 

Target Audience

General public

Industry professionals that may use additional heat sources to warm warehouses, large venues, etc.

Landlords and property owners

Emergency dispatch agencies 


CONTACT: Zane Lacko, WVU Extension Service

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.