Space heater safety

The Old House Web
Parts of this story: Introduction ~~ Shopping for a kerosene heater ~~ Safety Rules~~

detectorSpace heaters or portableheaters--no matter what they are called--must be used correctly to avoidpersonal injury. Anyone using these heating devices should know about their widerange of safety problems. Fromthe Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources,University of Nebraska, Lincoln, here is a list of basic safetyrules for kerosene heaters in the home.

1. Read and follow the directions in the instruction booklet.

2. Use only pure kerosene. NEVER substitute diesel, jet, furnacefuel, gasoline, or any type of yellow kerosene.

3. Install either an ion or photo electric smoke detector.

4. Use the heater only during waking hours. Don't use it overnight or at anytime while sleeping.

5. Open a window approximately 1 sq. inch for each 1,000 Btu capacity. On a30" window, a 1/32" crack provides an opening of about 1 sq. in.

6. Always refuel out of doors with unit off. Wipe up any spills. A spill canbe a slipping hazard, or a single spark could start a fire.

7. Place the heater away from combustible materials.

8. Keep the heater out of traveled areas so that pets or humans do not bumpit while walking by.

9. Clean and maintain the heater. If it is smoking or not working properly,have it repaired.

10. Don't use flammable liquids or vapors near the heater. Tile cement,aerosols, lacquers and flammable liquids all can be ignited easily by the flame.

11. When extinguishing the flame, cut down on the amount of unburnedhydrocarbons in the home by moving the heater outside.

12. Store kerosene in a clean container outside of the house, preferably in ashed. Don't completely fill the tank with cool fuel since it will expand when itgets into the warmth of a home, resulting in an overflow of fuel.

13. Don't let children operate or refuel the heater. Limit servicing of theunit to adults who are familiar with proper operating and safety procedures.

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