TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Temperatures are dropping, and lots of people are looking toward space heaters as alternative heating methods. What might surprise you though, is their potential fire risk.
Deputy Fire Marshal Josh Cottrell says it's something he's seen far too many times.
"Space heaters are slightly dangerous because they use so much amperage, and when I say amperage, it's how much energy it's using."
Cottrell says a small space heater uses an average of 12 amps of electricity.
"So on a normal home circuit, it's about a 20 amp circuit. So if you had plugged this in one of the circuits, it's using about half the amps for that circuit."
However, space heaters can be used safely.
"It is required, it's one of the safety guidelines for space heaters actually, to have at least three feet circumference around it so that nothing can get easily overheated and burned."
And always be on the lookout for warning signs. Cottrell says there will be clear signs if something is wrong.
"So, some obvious warning signs, if you're plugging in a heater and the power goes out in that room, it trips the breaker, that indicates the breaker is overloaded, and it's getting too many amps to it."
And by remembering these simple steps to stay safe, you just might save a life
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