How Long Can Space Heaters Be Left on without Risking a Fire?

Space heaters are heaters that can be carried around and can be used to warm rooms when there is cold or a lack of adequate heating from natural means. Most people like space heaters because of heating the homes, especially at night during the cold seasons. However, the space heaters use a lot of electricity and can raise the electric bills.

Again, the space heaters are designed to be used for long hours but can cause harmful effects such as fires if not used carefully following the essential precautions. If you plan to buy a space heater, it is crucial to know its operation and safety rules. The most asked question by the space heater owners is how long they should leave it on to avoid fire risks in their homes.

How long can space heaters be left on without risking a fire?

how long can space heaters be left on without risking a fire

It is advisable not to leave the space heaters on for too long as they can cause fire hazards and health effects. However, the duration in which one can leave your space heater depends on the size of your room, the ambient temperature, and comfortability. If the room is too large, it will take a bit longer to heat up. Once the room is warmed up, it’s necessary to switch off the space heater to avoid unnecessary risks.

Some space heaters have additional automatic features where you set the heater to be in use for specific hours, after which they will automatically shut down. It is not advisable to leave the space heaters on all night because you don’t know what happens to the space heater when you are sleeping. The wires of the space heater may overheat overnight and cause a fire.  Nowadays the space heaters are designed to be in use for long hours, such as overnight.

However, it is not good to take risks. Instead, warm your room when you are awake or set the time when the space heater should turn off.

Rules to follow to regulate the space heater from burning your house

Rules to follow to regulate the space heater from burning your house

The risk of burning your house is not the only thing to worry about. There are also other effects of space heaters that are harmful to our health. For example, when the space heaters are kept on for a long time, it omits carbon (1) oxide, which can cause health effects. The following are the safety rules that one should follow to keep yourself and the family safe and healthy.

  • Buy a space heater that has advanced options such as automatic switch off and overheat protection. Again, consider buying a larger space heater since the larger the space heater, the lower the possibility of overheating.
  • Keep away all the combustible material from the space heater. The heater should be away from any furniture to avoid fires in case of overheating. In addition to that, one should keep their beddings, clothes, and curtains far away from the space heater.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in the house if the space heater is not electric.
  • It is advisable to use the three-prong ground outlet to avoid circuit overload due to the high temperatures emitted by the space heater.
  • Ensure proper functioning of the smoke alarm in the house when you are using the space heater.
  • Place the space heater on a flat and hard surface, and avoid carpets.

Effects of space heaters

Effects of space heaters

Apart from causing fire, space heaters may be harmful to the health when left on for too long. Some of these effects include the following.

  • Poor insulation

A house with bad insulation will give an additional electric bill because, no matter how long you keep the heater on, the house will never heat up to the required temperatures. The heat will always escape leaving the room as usual.

  • Leads to a breath of dry air

The space heater takes away the air moisture in the room, leaving a circulation of dry air. Breathing dry air can cause health dangers. For example, it can cause respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. It can also cause itchy eyes due to dehydration; and skin dehydration due to compromising the skin moisture.

  • It is dangerous when sleeping

One should not leave the space heaters on when sleeping because it can cause a fire. It is hard to know when the fire breaks. Again, the carbon monoxide produced after long working hours can be poisonous.

Features to consider while purchasing a space heater

Features to consider while purchasing a space heater

The following are the attributes to look for when buying a space heater for your home.  

1) The timer: A timer helps turn off the space heater after a particular time, mostly when you forget to turn it off.

2) Auto shut-off: A space heater with an automatic shut-off always turns off when the room’s temperatures reach a certain degree that is set. The automatic shut-off helps to reduce the risk of fires, thereby keeping the family safe.

3) Auto thermostat: An automatic thermostat in the space heater helps in turning on the heater automatically when the temperatures go below a certain degree.

4) Remote control: A remote-controlled space heater is best for people who don’t need trouble or discomfort while using the heater. For example, since it can be operated from anywhere, you do not have to move from the bed to go and switch it off and leave the warmth and bed comfort.

5) Security for tip-over: When the space heater is tilted to certain levels, this feature turns it off to reduce fire risk and prevent shock to anyone or any pet around the place.

You might be interested to read also our another article of: Why Is My Electric Heater Blowing Cold Air?


Space heaters are suitable for home heating but can be very dangerous when used carelessly. Most of the fires and other dangers caused by the space heaters are always because of a lack of great attention or ignorance of safety guidelines. Turning off the space heater when the room is warmed is the critical guideline.

It is essential to follow the guidelines that are made carefully without ignorance to avoid fires. Finally, when buying a space heater, consider looking for advanced features that will help improve your family’s safety.

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