Space Heaters Pose a Serious Danger to Unsuspecting Families


December 16, 2012

While the changing calendar means approaching holidays, it also means chilly weather and strategies to stay warm. Space heaters provide a common method of fighting frigid weather. Although these portable heaters can provide relief from the frigid cold, they also pose serious potential hazards including fire, burns and exposure to carbon monoxide.

Space heaters are responsible for almost a third of all fires and more than three-quarters of all deaths caused by methods of heating of one’s home. When heaters and wood burning stoves cause fires, the results can be devastating injuries and wrongful death. If a space heater malfunctions because it is defectively designed or manufactured or lacks adequate warnings, an injury victim may have a product liability claim against any entity in the production-distribution network for the product. Similarly, if you are injured in a fire started by someone negligently operating a space heater, you may also have a claim against the person who used the space heater in an unsafe manner.

Space heaters pose a variety of risks of injury including the following:

Severe Burn Injuries: The unit may become extremely hot and cause severe injuries especially when located near the floor. Small children may suffer severe burns when they come into contact with the space heaters. If the heater does not have any kind of indicator light that provides a warning it is hot, an unsuspecting child may suffer severe, disfiguring burns.

Fire Hazards: If a space heater is not designed or manufactured correctly, it can cause a fire if it is tipped over or makes contact with flammable materials. Space heaters also draw an enormous amount of energy so use of a power strip or extension cord can also cause a fire. While portable heaters may include obvious warnings regarding such hazards, sometimes companies that make these portable heaters fail to provide adequate warnings.

Poisoning by Carbon Monoxide: While most current models of space heaters are electric, some still burn fuel. If you use a fuel-based heater, the device can emit carbon monoxide. A carbon monoxide detector is essential if you use this type of portable heater.

There are approximately 1,100 fires per years caused by portable space heaters according to the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC website provides a number of suggestions to reduce the danger posed by space heaters including:

  • Never use a heater that has been damaged
  • Do not leave a heater unattended
  • Keep flammable materials a safe distance from the heater
  • Turn heaters off while asleep
  • Make sure that the fit of the plug and wall outlet is snug

If you are injured by a defective space heater or a negligent use of such a heater, our Atlanta product liability attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.