Space Heater Safety

When we endure cold snaps in Alberta, it can be challenging to keep your home warm.  Portable space heaters have become a popular way to boost the interior temperature of your living space. Space heaters are popular appliances to heat homes and office space when the temperatures drop, they can also present a risk to your property.  


During the winter months, heating equipment like portable space heaters is one of the leading causes of home fires in Canada according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). With basic safety tips and precautions, you can prevent more heating fires from happening in your business or residence. Learn space heater safety best practices for your home or business from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore Calgary, and stay safe whenever you need extra heat during these cold periods.

During winter months, homeowners light fires, turn up the furnace and plug in their space heaters, creating more opportunity for accidents to happen. You can prevent space heater hazards by observing these simple space heater safety practices:

  • Purchase a heater with certification from a qualified testing laboratory. 
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat and automatic shutoff.
  • Always place the heater on a solid, flat surface. 
  • Never leave space heaters unattended. Turn off and unplug heaters when they are not in use.
  • Keep heaters at least 3 feet away from any flammable materials, including furniture, blankets and wastebaskets.
  • Do not place space heaters under your desk or in other enclosed areas, keep out of the way of foot traffic areas.
  • Keep children away from your space heater at all times.
  • Always plug your space heater directly into a wall outlet, not a surge protector. Never use an extension cord.


If you are a business owner, you certainly want your team to be comfortable in their workspace. During cold winter months, portable space heaters are popular in offices, warehouses and other working environments, so it is important to create a safe workplace policy on utilizing space heaters. Within your policy, ensure you include the residential best practices listed above in any workplace space heater safety materials, and use guidelines from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to expand awareness and outreach. Additionally, focus on the following key workplace safety tips:

  • Require employees get approval before using a space heater in their office or workspace.
  • Ensure your team keeps space heaters and cords out of high traffic areas.
  • Reiterate the importance of turning space heaters off at the end of the day or any time the individual leaves their workspace. 
  • Complete a walkthrough at the end of the day to ensure heaters have been appropriately turned off and unplugged. 
  • Establish minimum standards for permitted heater models, including safety features and independent testing certifications.

Whether you're at home or in the office, space heater offers a compact and convenient way to keep your environment comfortable during winter cold spells. Ensure that you, your family members and your coworkers are provided with the appropriate knowledge and tools for common space heater fire hazards and how to prevent them. Basic precautions can go a long way to protecting your home or business from the devastating effects of a heating fire. If an accident does happen, remember that the fire restoration professionals at ServiceMaster Restore Calgary are here 24/7/365 to assist if needed.