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Power Strips & Space Heaters

With the cold winter months in full swing and the holidays fast approaching people are pulling out their space heaters to heat their homes. However, what most people don’t realize is that they can be dangerous if used improperly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is the second-leading cause of U.S. home fires and the third leading cause of home fire deaths.

We want to take a few moments and remind the public about the potential fire hazards that are present with space heaters if plugged into power strips. Power strips are not designed to handle the energy load of a space heater and can overheat causing a fire hazard.

Space heaters use a surprising amount of electricity for their size; they are one of the highest power devices you’re likely to use. Drawing too much power through a power strip makes it more likely to overheat and fail, potentially causing a fire.

With a newer power strip, drawing too much power through the power strip will trip the internal breaker, so you’re just left with a minor inconvenience instead of a fire. However, with an older power strip, a low-quality one, or one that has been damaged it’s possible that overloading it will cause a fire. A single power space heater shouldn’t be enough to cause this all on its own, but you are ALWAYS better safe than sorry. There is also the fact that power strips can be “daisy chained,” making the potential for fire even greater. Many people will run a dozen devices off a single plug because the power strips will let them, this is VERY DANGEROUS! Power strips, as well as extension cords, are not equipped to handle the extra current flow needed to power a space heater.

Last year, a Facebook post from the Oregon Fire Department went viral alerting the public of this very issue, which lead researchers at CBS affiliate WFMY-TV to visit a demonstration lab at George Washington University.

During the demonstration, two heaters which used 3,000 watts, were plugged into a 2,000-watt capacity power strip. During the presentation, there was no meltdown or fire. However, this was because the particular power strips that were used had a fuse that blew as a safety feature, a feature many less expensive power strips do not have.

The safest way to utilize a space heater is to use it when its plugged into a wall and never to use an extension cord.

For more tips on keeping your home, business, and family safe this holiday season visit our website @ www.firefighter-pgh.com!

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