Space Heater Safety: Extension Cords, 3-Foot Zone, Overloading Outlets; This Winter Blast Continues Another Week

Joplin News First

"Space heaters account for about one-third of home heating fires and 80 percent of home heating fire deaths annually" National Fire Protection Association

JOPLIN, Mo. — We’ve seen so many fires in recent years blamed on small space heaters in the Joplin area. According to the Missouri of Fire Safety space heaters are to be used as a supplement to a home’s heating source. Never us space heaters to heat your house. It can overload your electric circuits and what many describe as ‘fire within the walls’ can start by using too much electricity.

Space heaters account for about one-third of home heating fires and 80 percent of home heating fire deaths annually

National Fire Protection Association

$ Some space heaters can make your electric bill go up $75 – $100 per month.  They are not energy savers, they are energy suckers.  So bundle up.  Dress in layers during the day.  More blankets at night.

Space heaters are popular and many people use them. One of the first things to remember is that you should never use an extension cord with a space heater. Why? The extension cord can heat up, especially if you are not using a larger gauge extension cord wire. The $2.48 cords can heat up and melt the plastic coating and then start a fire.

Use only one of the two plugs in an outlet for a space heater. Leave the other outlet empty. These space heaters use a lot of electricity, you do not want to overload that room’s circuit.


  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment such as a portable space heater, fireplace, wood-burning stove or furnace. The three-foot safety zone includes furniture, drapes, electronics—anything that can burn.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Never plug a space heater into a power strip or “multi-plug.” They should be plugged directly into an outlet.
  • Do not overload extension cords or outlets and do not place an electrical cord under a rug. Dispose of older, fraying extension cords.


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