How Long Can Space Heaters Be Turned On? (According to Experts)

Chilly winters can get the most uncomfortable when you don’t have a heating system around. Unfortunately, a lot of us can’t afford to install a centralized heating system in our homes. For such homes, a space heater becomes the savior.

A space heater is an electronic heating device that consumes less power comparatively. These portable devices are capable enough to warm up a small room, making it perfect for chilled winters. Furthermore, the modern space heaters are engineered with improved safety measures, allowing you to use the device for a more extended period.

But, we still need to talk about the safety aspect. So, let’s find answers to questions like;

How Long Can Space Heaters be Left on?

How Long Can Space Heaters be Left on

You can keep your space heater turned on for 2 to 3 hours.

After every few hours, prefer giving it a break so that your heater doesn’t overheat, leading to dangerous situations.

Nothing sounds more comfortable than leaving the space heater on 24/7. However, you’re not advised to do so because of the potential risks involved and the amount of money it would cost on your electricity bill.

So, considering the modern quality heaters with features like temperature control thermostats, overheat protection, and tip-over protection, they can be used for prolonged hours. Yet, leaving them unattended or sleeping with the heater on could lead to a fire hazard.

Furthermore, keeping the electricity bill aspect in mind, you should consider switching off the heaters every few hours. So, once your room reaches the desired temperature, switch off the heater for some time.

Can you Sleep with Space Heater On?

Can you Sleep with Space Heater On

No, you should not sleep with a space heater on as it involves a lot of risks.

Sleeping with an operational space heater is never a good choice. An unattended space heater could lead to a lot of dangerous situations, irrespective of how safe it is. Besides, it would also cost you a hefty amount on your electricity bill.

So, sleeping with a space heater on is never a good idea because of the possible risks involved. Let’s look at some of the reasons that justify this explanation

Risk of fire

There’s a lot of emphasis laid on keeping the ignitable objects away from the space heater. These involve rugs, carpets, curtains, papers, magazines, etc. This can result in a potential fire hazard, especially when you haven’t moved the flammable objects away.

Keeping the space heater on throughout the night will make your heater stay unattended for a lot of hours.

Moreover, while we are asleep, we can hardly sense the burning fumes that make us more vulnerable to accidents.  

Risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

Winter is when most or all doors and windows are shut properly. This restricts ventilation, leading to the accumulation of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere indoors if a fire breaks out.

So, when you’re asleep, you’ll probably not be able to monitor the air around you, leading to a dangerous situation like inhaling the deadly carbon monoxide gas in excessive amounts.

Therefore, sleeping with a space heater on can cause breathing problems, which could even get fatal for people with respiratory ailments.

Risk of developing severe respiratory illness

Using a heater inside a packed room dries out the air in the atmosphere indoors. Breathing dry air for extended periods can lead to several health hazards that can damage your respiratory system. This can cause severe respiratory ailments like asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and nose bleeding.

Furthermore, breathing dry air can dehydrate your body as it quickly exhausts your fluids. Dehydration can lead to dry/flaky skin, itchy eyes, breathlessness, etc.

Risk of Electric Shock

You are already attracting all sorts of risks while using electrical appliances and keeping them turned on and unattended all night. And getting an electrical shock is one of them. So, you must be careful about keeping a heating system turned on all night, as it can lead to severe results.

Inflated Power Bills

If you leave your electric space heaters switched on for too long, like if you have a habit of going off to sleep with your space heaters on, you will naturally have to bear more burden in the form of electricity bills. So, your monthly expenditure can probably blow your mind.

Can you Run a Space Heater 24/7?

You should never leave your space heater on 24/7.

Let’s read some statistics to know why.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission states that around 25,000 house fires are reported every year due to the unattended use of space heaters.

Another report also clears that 300 deaths and 6,000 burn injuries are reported every year due to improper use of heating systems.

On top of that, the National Fire Protection Associate reports that 81% of fire deaths are a result of inappropriate use of portable or stationary space heaters.

According to the statistics, most space heater accidents happen when you leave the heating system unattended. So, no matter how well built your space heater is, leaving it on 24/7 isn’t a good idea.

Most modern space heaters are constructed with the required safety features, making them safe to run for extended periods. But, taking the potential risks in consideration, you should turn them off when you’re not home or sleeping. Turning your space heaters off for some time will save you a lot of bucks on your electricity bill.

You will have to understand that space heaters are electric devices, and there’s no guarantee on the fire hazards caused due to malfunctioning. Furthermore, the surroundings of the heaters are mostly the primary cause of accidents, where just one minor negligence can also lead to fire accidents.

However, if you still wish to run a space heater on 24/7, you should be prepared to handle the worst conditions. To handle the extreme situations, you’ll have to be spontaneous and never forget to keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Is It OK to Leave Space Heater On All Night?

Is It OK to Leave Space Heater On All Night

No, do not leave the space heater on all night, as it can lead to accidents, and excessive use of electric heating can also make you prone to multiple health issues.

Running a space heater all night increases the chances of it tipping. It might also harm your pet if they have a habit of sleeping closer to you.

Moreover, excessive use of heaters makes your skin dry. It also causes abnormal dryness in the atmosphere, leading to breathing issues.

What Happens if a Heater is Left On?

When you leave a space heater on for long, you undoubtedly get rid of the icy chills. This heating system makes you feel comfortable indoors and it also isn’t as expensive as a centralized heating system. However, with this comfort comes a lot of responsibility.

When you operate a space heater, you need to stay alert to keep the fire hazards at bay. Similarly, you also need to be prepared to deal with all kinds of fire hazards in an emergency.

So, let us look at some situations that could arise from using space heaters for a prolonged period.

Makes the atmosphere dry

These heating devices conduct a lot of heat, which can make your room air uncomfortably dry. This dryness in the atmosphere can make other items like paper, rubber, etc., catch fire instantly.

Device Malfunction

Keeping the space heater on for too long increases the possibility of device malfunction. Such a situation can result in accidents like an electrical shock, fire, burns, etc.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Keeping the heater turned on for too long or maybe going to sleep with the heater on can result in the accumulation of the deadly carbon monoxide gas. So, you must beware of sensing the poisonous fumes before it gets too late.

So, these are some of the repercussions that make their way with the comfort of using space heaters for a prolonged time.

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Should Space Heaters be Unplugged When Not in Use?

Should Space Heaters be Unplugged When Not in Use

Yes, if you want to save those extra bucks on your electricity bill, unplug your heaters when not in use.

If you have not really read about this, you’ll be surprised to know about a phenomenon, called standby power. According to this observable fact, if you keep your electrical devices plugged even when you are not using them, they consume electric power in standby mode.

Appliances use around 5-10% of the residential energy in their standby mode.

So, considering this expenditure, it is always a good idea to keep the electrical application unplugged when not in use. 

Is It Safe to Leave Space Heaters On?

No, it is not safe to leave the space heaters on while you are not around or present in the house. Switch on the heaters only in your presence and keep your children and your pets at least 3-foot away from the heating device.

You can also consider installing smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detection alarms, etc. if you love using heaters for prolonged periods.

Safety Tips: Things to Know Before Leaving a Space Heater On All Night

Now, let us look at the most important aspect of running a space heater for an extended time: safety. Below are a few safety tips that will keep you from fire accidents.

  1. Keep the space heater away from flammable objects like dry paper, curtains, rugs, carpets, etc. The heater should be placed at least 3 feet away from such things.
  2. Don’t keep your space heater too close to the bed. It can lead to a severe fire hazard in case it tumbles.
  3. Always place the heater on a smooth flat surface to avoid accidents.
  4. Ensure installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detection alarms at your home. If they’re already installed, make sure to check the batteries of these devices.
  5. According to experts, always plug electric heaters directly into the wall outlet. Avoid using extensions, and even if you are using them, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  6. Make sure to keep your pets and children away from the electronic device. Don’t make them play around with this heating system.
  7. Do not use your space heaters in a cluttered area. You might never know what item catches fire.
  8. If possible, buy a new version of the space heater, as they come with several safety precaution features.
  9. Never use any electrical device with a cracked, frayed, or damaged cord.

So, these are some of the safety tips that will keep you away from fire accidents. Never take fire hazards lightly, as they can lead to fatal accidents.

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Final Thoughts

Space heaters are a great alternative to other expensive heating systems. Most of them are portable and can be used to heat different parts of the home. However, like any other electronic device, you must be excessively careful about using this heating system correctly.

It is never completely safe to use a space heater overnight. You should put them off even when taking a small nap. Running these heaters all night can be detrimental, as it has the potential to lead to a fatal fire hazard.