5 Questions You've Always Wanted to Ask About Space Heaters

Space heaters are an easy way to add more warmth to any room in your home when you need it most. They are easy to use and can be used in most indoor places. You just have to know how to use a space heater properly and what things can potentially be dangerous while using one. We’re here to turn up the heat and answer your burning questions about space heaters.

Space heater in the living room

Do Space Heaters Dry Out The Air?

Adding more heat to a room can leave your skin feeling dried out and cause static to raise on blankets or other soft surfaces. You might be wondering, is this because of my space heater? The short answer to this question is no, they don’t technically dehumidify indoor spaces. Simply put, space heaters increase air temperature which increases the amount of water air can absorb, making the air feel drier. 

To explain further, the air only feels drier when a space heater is on because the temperature increases, therefore decreasing relative humidity. Relative humidity is how much water vapor is in the air relative to the temperature. Warm air can hold more water than cold air, and since little to no water is being added to a room with an increased temperature, it feels more dry. With a higher water capacity in warmer temperatures, more water from your skin can be absorbed into the air, making the room you’re in - and your skin - feel dry.

Space heater in a bedroom

Is it Safe to Run a Space Heater All Night Long?

Sleeping in a warm room with plenty of blankets around you is wonderful and cozy, especially in the winter or on cold days, but should you use a space heater to warm your room while you sleep? Despite the constant improvements manufacturers make to space heaters, it is still not a good idea to leave one on all night long. Leaving a heater on while you sleep is a risk and can result in damages to the heater and/or your home, even if it has an automatic shutoff feature. If the heater begins to overheat, spark, or smoke while you’re asleep, it’s likely you won’t notice until it’s too late. 

Using a space heater while you are awake is deemed safe because you are able to immediately notice when something goes awry. You can quickly attend to any sparking or smoking and can even put it right-side up if the heater tips over. Remember to never, ever leave a space heater unattended while it’s on and keep objects at least 3 feet away from each side of the heater. Always plug your space heater directly into the wall outlet; never use an extension cord to power the heater.

Can I Use a Space Heater on Carpeted Floors?

Generally, it is not a good idea to use a space heater on floors that are carpeted. If you have no other option, be sure to always be in the room while the heater is on. This is especially true if you have children or pets that don’t pay close attention to their surroundings and may knock the heater over or hurt themselves after getting too close to it. Carpet and rugs can also soak up toxins that build up over time from the ventilation system in the heater.

Why Do Space Heaters Smell Like Something is Burning?

There are a few reasons why your space heater may smell like it’s burning. Some are cause for immediate action, while others are normal and will stop smelling after a few uses.

A space heater may smell like it’s burning if it’s brand new. This burning smell occurs because debris or dust from the factory or packaging may have settled on the heater and is burning off as the temperature increases. This burning smell should fade after you use it a couple times. The same is true for if your heater hasn’t been used for a season and dust collected on it. To help prevent the burning smell, you can wipe the heater off with a dry cloth before plugging it in and turning it on. You could also use the heater on a warm day and keep the windows open to burn off the dust and remove the smell with the help of fresh air.

Space heater being plugged into a wall outlet

If your space heater smells like it’s burning and it is plugged into an extension cord, immediately unplug the heater. Allow the heater to cool down before turning it back on. Plug the heater directly into a wall outlet rather than an extension cord. Extension cords cannot be used to power space heaters because heaters require more electricity to run than the amount of electricity extension cords can give.

Another reason your space heater may smell like it’s burning is something could be covering it. If any object touches the heater while it is on, it can impact the ventilation system and cause the heater to malfunction or overheat. To avoid anything coming into contact with the heater, give the heater a 3-foot zone to operate. Do not allow any furniture or items to get into this little bubble of heater space to prevent any accidents.

One final reason a space heater may smell like it’s burning is because it is overheating. Most heaters have automatic shutoff functions to prevent overheating, but if yours doesn’t, here’s what you can do. Immediately turn off and unplug the heater and let it cool down completely. After the heater has cooled, try using it on an intermittent setting to regulate the temperature more.

Can You Use a Space Heater to Kill Bed Bugs?

There’s nothing worse than snuggling up in your bed for the night, pulling up the covers, and feeling something crawling around. You jump out of bed and throw back the covers only to see bed bugs! Gross! How can you get rid of them quickly? Turns out heat is one of the best and easiest ways to kill bed bugs without using chemicals. Does that mean you can use your handy dandy space heater to rid your bed of a bug infestation? 

Unfortunately, space heaters are not effective at killing bed bugs. Space heaters don’t cover enough area or get hot enough (even on the highest setting) to take out an entire infestation. It’s possible some bugs may be eliminated by using a space heater, but not enough to completely remove the problem. To ensure all bed bugs (at all life stages) are killed, 130-140-degree Fahrenheit heat must be applied constantly for 4-6 hours. The best way to get rid of bed bugs is to use a bed bug heater; that way no chemicals are required, and you can be sure all bugs are removed from your home.

 Woman enjoying a cup of coffee near her space heater

Space heaters are handy for keeping your home warm on cold days. You just have to know how to use one properly, understand what to do in the event something goes wrong, and what you can and can’t use a space heater for. We hope we’ve helped answer some of your questions about what a space heater can do. Check out our selection of indoor heating options to keep you warm this winter.

Indoor living

1 comment

Melanie Held

It’s not answering my question

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