Warning: This common mistake can cause your space heater to catch fire


You may be unintentionally putting both you and your family in serious danger by using a cheap extension cord with a portable space heater.

Fire safety experts have issued a timely reminder to always plug a space heater directly into the wall.

Space heater fire risk: What you need to know

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Many people will use an extension cord to bring a space heater closer to them, but the cord may not be able to handle the amount of electricity that your small but powerful unit produces.

One official told NBC News that space heaters are a leading cause of fires, and they can be deadly.

In a dramatic TV demonstration, NBC’s Jeff Rossen and his team used an abandoned house to show how an improperly used space heater can lead to a fire capable of engulfing a home within minutes.

In addition to plugging a space heater directly into the wall, remember this:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a space heater.  
  • Do not allow children or pets anywhere near a space heater.
  • Always turn portable heaters off when you leave a room or go to bed.

On its website, the Department of Energy recommends that consumers buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if the unit falls over.

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