According to the United States fire Administration 3,500 lives are lost, 20,000 injuries occur, and billions of dollars in damages happen each year from fires. More often than not these fires occur during the winter months of December, January, and February when temperatures are at their lowest. Many of these fires are preventable as they are started from improper usage of heating devices.
Portable space heaters are a common appliance in many homes. To avoid the high cost of gas heat many families will use electric heaters to keep the house warm and the thermostat lower. One may find a heater in each bedroom and living areas of the home plugged into extension cords. This unfortunately is a bad idea and has a serious potential to cause an electrical fire. It is recommended that if one must use an extension cord that it is heavy duty and supports at least the same voltage as the heater if not more and to never plug in other devices. Unplug the heater when not in use and never leave it running while asleep. Make sure to keep heaters at least three feet away from clothing, bedding, furniture, children, and pets. Never place anything on top of a space heater, and use only heaters that will turn off if they fall over.
The most common reason that fires occur from space heaters is that there is too much power being pulled from wiring in the home. Work with your local electrician to make sure you can safely use these devices. In Atlanta, for instance, call an Atlanta electrician to make sure the wiring in the house is up to code and it is safe to use space heaters before plugging in the devices. An Atlanta electrical contractor should be able to assess how much voltage the wiring in the house can handle and give homeowners a good idea of how much is too much. With all the modern devices Americans use, especially in older homes, it's likely that the electric system within the home has the capability to withstand the extra watts needed to run multiple units.
Extension cords will not protect portable space heaters from surges and can heat up rather quickly from electric currents causing the extension cord to melt and create a fire hazard. Make sure to check both the extension cord and electric space heater for any splits, or exposed wiring before use. If the device is overheating or in is need of any repairs call a professional electrical contractor.