Because most areas of California have a year-round temperature that is comfortable and freezing temperatures rarely occur, families may use electric or portable heaters as supplement heat sources when temperatures do dip on occasion. While these heaters can be a great source of warmth, they do not come without risks. Anyone using an electric heater should be aware of the dangers associated with them.
Fire risks are high with portable heaters according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Burns are another common risk. Heater surfaces can get very hot, although some may come with a cool touch safety feature. On the plus side, electric heaters do not have to be vented and do not produce a risk to air quality. Tipping is something to be aware of because it can easily lead to fires. However, many heaters have safety features that automatically cause the unit to turn off if tipped over.
Electrical Safety Foundation International notes the best way to prevent hazards due to electric heaters is to understand how to use them safely. This begins with reading and understanding all manufacturer's recommendations and requirements for use. Because of the electrical pull, heaters should always be plugged into an outlet and extension cords should not be used. Most heaters need three feet of clearance around them to avoid fire risks.
Heater should not be left unattended or be used around children and pets unless there is adult supervision. They should be inspected for damage and wear before use. Finally, in homes using space heaters, it is essential to install smoke detectors in every room and check them regularly to ensure they are functioning properly.