You are now in the main content area

Portable Space Heaters

Portable space heaters are a convenient way to supply additional heat for your home or office during the winter months. However, when used improperly they can be a serious fire and electrical hazard. If you find your workplace to be particularly cold, please submit a Service Request to have the issue assessed. Heaters should only be used in areas reviewed by Facilities Management and Development.

Here’s how you can help keep yourself and others safe while using portable space heaters:

  • Only use a heater that bears an official mark or label indicating that the product has been independently assessed for safety (e.g. UL or CSA certified). Visit the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) website for a list of recognized certification marks and labels (external link) .
  • If you are purchasing a new heater, consider one with a tip-over switch. This safety feature turns the heater off automatically when it’s tipped over.
  • Give your heater some space. Always maintain a minimum of three feet between the heater and any combustible materials, including chairs, curtains and papers.
  • Check cords for damages or frays before each use.
  • Ensure your heater is securely plugged into a power outlet and that the cable is not a tripping hazard. It should also be placed on a level surface to prevent it from easily tipping over. Do not place it on top of tables, chairs or any unstable surfaces.
  • Turn off the power when you leave the room and never leave it on unsupervised.
  • Do not plug your heater into an extension cord or power bar as this can increase the chance it will overheat and potentially cause a fire.
  • If the power cord feels hot to the touch, immediately unplug it and do not use it until a certified electrician inspects it for damage.
  • Do not use the heater near water or touch it if you are wet, as this could increase your risk of being electrocuted.
  • Do not place the power cord underneath carpets, rugs or furniture, as this could prevent the cord from releasing its retained heat and potentially cause a fire.