As temperatures drop in Georgia and across the Southeast, some residents may turn to space heaters to beat the chill. Electric space heaters have gained in popularity over the last decade as manufacturers have created new models, many of which mimic the appearance of fireplaces or stoves. These devices are intended to offer consumers that slight warmth they need on crisp days that do not yet warrant the use of the home’s full heat source.
However, despite the popularity of these devices, not all electric space heaters are safe. According to SafeElectricity.org, space heaters are the cause of 25,000 home fires each year and result in 6,000 trips to the emergency room. The group provides the following tips to ensure you stay safe when using any type of electric space heater:
- Read and follow the instructions so that you understand the basics as to use, operation and care of your space heater;
- Check to make sure your product has been safety tested and is approved by the Underwriters Laboratories, a product safety testing company;
- Check to be sure your home has carbon monoxide detectors that are functioning properly;
- Make sure your product has the most up to date safety features, such as emergency shut offs and heating element guards;
- Keep electric heaters away from anything that could be flammable, including fuels, upholstered furniture, spray cans and paint;
- Keep pets and children away from space heaters, especially those lacking heating element guards;
- Never place electric heaters on furniture, carpets or countertops;
- Place heaters only on non-flammable surfaces that are sturdy and level;
- Do not use space heaters to dry wet clothing;
- Do not overload the circuit used to operate the heater;
- Turn space heaters off whenever you are not in the room; and
- Replace older heaters as needed.
Defective Space Heaters can Result in Serious Injuries
At times, even with the utmost of care, fires and other injuries can result due to defects within the space heater. Manufacturers have a legal duty to design and manufacture products that are safe and effective. They must also warn consumers as to known defects, even those discovered after the space heater is on the market. When a product injures or kills a consumer due to a design defect, poor manufacturing, or inadequate warnings, then manufacturer, seller or distributor should be held accountable.
Injured consumers have the right to pursue a product liability action against negligent manufacturers and can seek compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and much more. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after your injury.