This Is Why You Should Never Plug Space Heaters Into Power Strips

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As the cold weather creeps in, space heater usage ramps up! Space heaters draw a lot of power when plugged in and an Oregon fire department has issued a warning about the dangers of plugging them into the wrong type of outlets.

The Facebook post was originally posted in 2017 by the Umatilla Fire Department # 1, but has since been re-shared to highlight the dangers of plugging in space heaters into power strips.

The weather is getting colder, and people are pulling out their space heaters. We just wanted to remind you that you…

Posted by Umatilla County Fire District #1 on Thursday, November 30, 2017

Umatilla Country Fire District #1 shared an alarming photo of a melted and charred power strip on Facebook showing the damage an overloaded outlet can cause.

“These units are not designed to handle the high current flow needed for a space heater and can overheat or even catch fire due to the added energy flow,” the post explained.

Most people don’t realize a power strip doesn’t limit or block surges like a surge protector. Plus, many space heaters have specific manufacturer’s instructions, like only plugging them directly into a wall outlet.

You should definitely not use an extension cord or power strip, which could easily overheat, and you really shouldn’t plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater for safety reasons.

If you’re thinking of buying a space heater this winter, you should also always follow these electrical safety tips, whether it’s a space heater, phone charger or something else:

  • Regularly check the cords and plugs of your electrical appliances to see if they’re frayed, damaged or worn out. If they are, discard them.
  • Keep all electrical cords away from heat.
  • Leave enough space around any electrical appliance to allow for heat dissipation. Also, keep any heating device away from flammable materials.
  • Never leave turned-on appliances unattended.
  • Always unplug unused appliances.
  • Make sure bathroom, kitchen, and garage outlets are ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).
  • Install smoke detectors outside each bedroom and make sure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, including your basement. Test your alarms monthly, replace batteries at least once a year, and replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.
  • Following these basic safety measures will help keep your home warm, but more importantly fire-free.