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As the colder weather is moving rapidly upon us, a lot of us begin using portable heaters to keep warm. Here are some items to consider:

NOTICE: IF YOU ARE IN A STATE OF MAINE OWNED BUILDING OR A BUILDING LEASED TO THE STATE OF MAINE, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE ANY TYPE OF PORTABLE HEATER WITHOUT THE EXPLICIT APPROVAL OF YOUR SUPERVISOR AND THE BUILDING SUPERINTENDENT.

If you are not in a State of Maine owned or leased building or have been given permission to use a portable heater by your supervisor and building superintendent you may find the following suggestions helpful.

  • Heaters should always be carefully checked before using them and monitored constantly while in use. Never leave a heater running unattended.
  • Does your heater have an automatic shut off feature if it falls over? If it does not then DO NOT USE IT.
  • Use heaters only on the floor. Never place heaters on furniture because they could fall and be damaged and that could result in a fire or shock hazard.
  • Never place a heater where surrounding items could fall on or land against the heater because a fire or heat damage could occur to the heater or surroundings.
  • Keep heaters away from wet or moist places, such as bathrooms, because corrosion or water damage to the heater may lead to a shock or even a fire hazard.
  • Keep heater electrical cords out from under rugs or carpets. Placing anything on top of the cord could cause the cord to overheat and cause a fire.
  • Do not use an extension cord unless it is absolutely necessary. Keep in mind that using a light-duty, household extension cord with high-wattage heater can easily start a fire. If you must use an extension cord, it should be a heavy duty cord like those made for air conditioners or one properly rated for the heater and the heater should be the only device plugged into the extension cord.
  • Be sure the plug fits snugly in the outlet. A loose plug can overheat. Have a qualified repairman replace any worn-out plugs or outlets.
  • Many electrical heaters draw lots of power and the cord and plug may feel warm. If the plug feels hot, unplug the heater and have a qualified repairman check the heater for problems. If the heater and its plug are found to be working properly then have the outlet checked and replaced if necessary. Using a heater with a hot cord or plug could start a fire.
  • If a heater is used on an outlet protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and the GFCI trips, stop using the heater and have it checked, even if it seems to be working properly. Repairing broken heaters is not a do-it-yourself type job. Always have heaters checked and repaired by qualified appliance service center technicians.