Don't make these dangerous mistakes when heating your home

By  | 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. With temperatures diving well below freezing, many of us are cranking up the heat at home. But if you’re not careful, heat can turn into flames.
We spoke with a Springfield fire marshal to find the most dangerous mistakes you might make when heating your home this winter.
“Inevitably, it’s the same thing we see year after year,” said Fire Marshal Bill Spence.
Spence says one mistake is putting things that can catch on fire too close to the space heater.
“Typically, it’s bedding,” said Spence, “People have these in or near their bedroom, and either during the middle of the night, or in the morning when they’re in a hurry, throwing their blankets back, they’re coming into contact… Or just coming too close to these space heaters, resulting in a fire.”
Number two: Spence says you can’t use just any extension cord.
If it has two prongs, it’s too lightweight and it can’t handle a heater.
“It’ll begin to overheat,” Spence explained.
You can buy a heavy-duty cord that's made for large appliances, or you can plug the heater right into the wall. Spence recommends using a surge protector that has a breaker built in.
“If there’s a problem, whether it’s an over current, or a short, it’s going to trip that breaker and stop the power from flowing. And stop the issue,” he said.
Mistake number three is not reading the instructions that come with the heater (such as unplugging the device when you leave the room).
“Yes, you can use these. Just make sure A- You’re following the instructions. B- When you purchase one, make sure you’re getting one that is from a reputable company, that’s been approved by a third party. And then, just kind of watch out,” said Spence.