The Dangers of Space Heaters and Generators

The Dangers of Space Heaters and GeneratorsThe residents of South Jersey are well aware of how cold the winters can be in our area. Therefore, from late fall to mid-spring, people depend on their heat systems, causing many to bring out their space heaters and generators.

While no one should have to suffer through the cold, you should also keep in mind that space heaters and generators frequently cause fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. This is often caused by inappropriate use, but a defective device might also be to blame.

Why are space heaters and generators so dangerous?

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sent out a warning in January urging those who use space heaters or generators to be very careful and cautious as they are hazardous and deadly. The reason that these tools are considered hazardous and deadly is because space heaters are known to quickly cause housefires, and generators are known to cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Here is the alarming data that CPSC released regarding space heaters and generators:

Space heaters:

  • Space heaters are involved in close to 2,000 fires each year.
  • They resulted in around 70 deaths each year from 2017 to 2019.
  • They injured more than 160 people each year between 2017 and 2019.


  • Around 800 people were killed from carbon monoxide poisoning due to generators from 2011 to 2021.
  • Over 100 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2020 alone, which was an all-time high.

How can I prevent a fire from occurring when using my space heater?

The last thing anyone wants is a house fire, but you absolutely don’t want one when it’s cold. You can help protect yourself and your family with these helpful tips:

  • Keep your space heater away from items that can catch on fire: This means that your space heater should not be against a wall or within three feet of any object that is combustible or flammable. Some examples of items or objects that are considered combustible or flammable are furniture, blankets, beds, window curtains, and shower curtains.
  • Only buy and use a space heater that automatically shuts off: When you buy or use a space heater, you should ensure that it automatically shuts off on its own. This is important as the heater may tip over or fall, which can cause a fire. It is also important that the heater turns off when it reaches a certain temperature as you may leave the room or house and forget that it is on.
  • Plug your space heater only into the wall outlet: Although many people use power strips and extension cords for different gadgets, your space heater should never be plugged into one. Instead, you only want your space heater to be plugged into the wall outlet as this ensures that the power strip will not be overloaded and cause a fire to erupt.
  • Turn off your space heater before you go to bed: Before you go to bed at night, you should make sure that your space heater is completely off. The reason that this is suggested is because you are not aware of what is happening around you while you sleep, which opens the door for a fire to start. If you are asleep when a fire occurs, you may not wake up in time to escape.
  • Never place your space heater on any type of carpet or fabric: Your space heater should never be placed on any type of carpet or fabric, because it can catch fire. If you only have carpeted floors, you will need to think of an alternative solution.

How do I avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when using my generator?

If you use a generator, you may also benefit from knowing how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when using this device. Five quick tips that you can follow to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning while using a generator include:

  1. Keep your generator outside at all times.
  2. Do not bring your generator inside any building or home, including your garage or basement.
  3. Ensure that your generator is at a minimum of 20 feet from your house or apartment.
  4. Make sure the exhaust is facing away from your home or any other homes/ structures.
  5. Only put fuel in the generator after it has been completely turned off and fully cooled down.

Can’t I use detectors to detect smoke and carbon monoxide?

You can, but they shouldn’t be your only line of defense. And you shouldn’t only have one. In order for these detectors to be effective, you must place them in certain areas around your home, such as:

  • Every bedroom on each level of your home
  • The basement
  • Living room
  • Dining room or family den area
  • Stairways
  • Hallways

X-Sense, a company that sells detectors, mentions that you should not place detectors inside or near the bathroom, fans, vents, ceiling corners, windows, glass sliding doors, utility closets, laundry machines, dishwashers, garages, or unfinished attic spaces. However, you should always make sure that you use multiple detectors around your home and that they are either on the ceiling or located toward the top portion of your walls.

If you suffer injuries from a space heater or generator, the Cherry Hill personal injury lawyers at Ferrara & Gable are here to help. Our team will investigate your claim, determine who is liable for your accident, and build a strong case against them. We believe in holding negligent parties accountable for their actions and behaviors that result in our clients’ suffering. We encourage you to schedule a free consultation by calling our office or submitting our contact form. We serve all of South Jersey.

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