February 9, 2021

Space heaters pose safety concerns, may cause high electric bills

By haziqbinarif


BRYAN AND PAULDING, Ohio — Freezing temperatures may have you
reaching for your space heater… but your local electric cooperative asks
you to think twice. Electric space heaters are convenient, but don’t
forget about their high cost and the safety precautions that may get
overlooked.

During this frigid week of single-digit temperatures,
Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative (PPEC) and North Western Electric
Cooperative (NWEC) want to help their member-owners avoid unexpected
high winter electric bills, and fire and electric shock hazards from
space heaters.

“Heating equipment is the second leading cause of
home fires in the United States,” said PPEC Energy Advisor Peter Niagu.
“Safety should always be a top consideration when using electric space
heaters.”

Always inspect the heater for cracked or broken plugs
before each use. To avoid overheating an outlet, which could result in a
fire, plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet, and never use an
extension cord or plug any other devices into the same outlet.

When
using electric space heaters, always check the manufacturer’s
recommendations. Here are a few basic safety tips to keep in mind:

1. Never place flammable objects such as curtains, bedspreads, table clothes or cleaning supplies closer than 3 feet.

2. Never use near wet areas such as kitchen sinks, baths, showers, etc.

3. Be careful to place on a stable flat surface to avoid tipping over.

4. Keep away from children and pets. Even a brief touch can cause severe burns.

5. Be sure to check for frayed insulation on cords and never use with an extension cord.

6. Turn off space heaters when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep.

Cost
is another factor to consider when using space heaters. For example,
using two space heaters for just two hours a day could add nearly $20 to
your monthly electric bill.

To see how much a space heater costs
to operate, visit your cooperative’s website to find their space heater
energy calculator. PPEC’s space heater calculator can be found by
visiting www.PPEC.coop and clicking the blue “Energy Calculators” button
at the top of the page, then “Heating and Cooling.” NWEC’s can be found
at www.nwec.com under the Programs & Education tab > Energy
Efficiency > Perform your own audit > Heating and Cooling.

“Space heaters warm people, not rooms,” Niagu said. “Don’t try to heat your entire home with them.”

To stay warm without turning up the heat, try these tips:

1. Dress in layers.

2. Use blankets.

3. Try microwavable heating pads.

4.
Leave your oven open after baking to release the heat (but do not
attempt to heat a room by keeping an oven open while it is running).

5. Keep your feet warm with thick socks or slippers.

6. Drink warm beverages (warms you from the inside out and keeps hands warm)

7. Reverse your ceiling fan so it spins clockwise to push warm air down.

8. Try a humidifier (humid air feels warmer than dry air).

9. Clear your heat vents, registers, and radiators so heat can circulate.

10. Do something active, like cleaning or getting up to move periodically so your body doesn’t get stiff and cold.

Remember
that the colder it is outside, the harder your heating system has to
work to keep your home warm – which is why electric bills are typically
higher in the winter.

Have questions about how to keep
your winter electric bill down? Call PPEC at 800-686-2357 or NWEC at
800-647-6932 for customized energy efficiency advice tailored to your
home. Stay warm and safe out there!

Bryan-based North Western
Electric Cooperative (NWEC) and Paulding-based Paulding Putnam Electric
Cooperative (PPEC) are not-for-profit, member-owned electric utilities
dedicated to providing superior member service; safe, affordable, and
reliable electricity; and improved quality of life for their
communities. NWEC serves nearly 5,900 consumers in Williams, Defiance,
Henry, and Paulding counties. PPEC serves over 12,900 members in
Paulding, Putnam, Defiance, Van Wert, and Allen counties in Ohio and
Adams and Allen counties in Indiana. To learn more about the
cooperatives’ programs and services, please visit www.nwec.com or
www.ppec.coop.



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