Space Heaters

Considerations for the selection & use of space heaters

Before using a space heater

  • Check that the thermostat in the work area is set to the appropriate temperature.
  • Contact Plant Operations to confirm there is not a building problem that should be resolved. The work area may be too cold because the building’s systems are not working properly. 
  • Ensure the electrical circuit can handle the increased load of a space heater. The increased load may result in a tripped breaker and the sudden loss of power to computers and other electrical devices.

If the above items have been addressed, a space heater meeting the following conditions may be used

  • The heater must be electrically powered. Fuel-powered (propane, kerosene) space heaters are not permitted.
  • The heater must have an Electrical Safety Authority certification marking
  • The heater must have a thermostat to shut down the unit when the desired temperature is achieved. Heaters with simple "on/off" or "high/low" switches continue to heat without any regulation and can easily cause fires. 
  • Space heaters must have tip-over protection which turns off the heater if it is knocked over. 
  • A guard or screen must cover the heating element. 
  • Heated open coil radiant heaters are not permitted.

Follow these guidelines 

  • Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
  • Maintain clearance as per the manufacturer’s instructions at all times. Combustible materials like paper, plastic and cloth must be kept away from the heater.
  • Inspect heaters for broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, remove the heater from use.
  • Keep heaters away from aisles and paths of travel. Electric cords must be kept out of foot traffic paths to prevent tripping. 
  • Never place anything on top of a space heater. 
  • Do not place space heaters under desks where they may be inadvertently kicked, or come in contact with electrical cords or combustibles.
  • Heaters must only be located on the floor. Heaters on filing cabinets, tables, desks or equipment are more susceptible to being knocked over. 
  • The heater should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Extension cords are not recommended, but if one must be used, the extension cord wiring must be appropriately rated. 
  • Plug other electrical devices into another outlet.
  • Unplug the heater (do not just turn it off) any time the room or area being heated is unoccupied, especially at the end of the workday. Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.