Although the safety statistics concerning electric heaters, especially electric space heaters that plug into the mains, are horrifying, there are simple pieces of safety advice, which will, in the vast majority of cases, prevent the vast majority of accidents from happening.
Most of the problems that arise with electric space heaters are caused by heat or fire; rather than the electricity of electrical wiring. Of course, it is still important to make sure that any electrical wiring is carried out properly and with due care and attention. Make use of modern synthetic polymers which have the same insulating qualities as rubber. If you can, have your home or office wiring upgraded to include modern circuit breakers, which are the most effective form of protection against a fire created by a short circuit or an overloaded system.
The most obvious precautions to take, to prevent accidents caused by heaters, are simply to make sure that there is an adequate distance between the heater and any potential source of combustion. The sources include items of furniture, curtains, anything made of paper or cardboard and of course any flammable liquids. Be especially sure to keep the heater away from any potential contact with water.
One vital and obvious tip is to make sure that the heater you buy bears whichever safety certification is appropriate in your country. Every major country Government has safety standards which items must meet before they can be fitted with a mark or symbol showing that they have been thoroughly tested and meet the often stringent requirements. If there is no such mark present, then the heater probably does not conform to standard – and you have no assurance that the build quality is adequate, or that the features built in for safety meet the necessary standard.
If you are purchasing a heater with one or more electric elements, it is important to make sure that there is an adequate guard around them. Any contact with a heated element by paper or fabric material creates an immediate serious fire risk. If the guard is exceptionally inadequate, there is even the risk of serious injury from fingers accidentally making contact with the heater elements, in the case of a fall, for example.
It is obviously important when you buy a new heater to make sure that you thoroughly read and understand the instructions provided for the safe maintenance and use of the heater. Of course, basic safety precautions need to be observed in all cases. The most important of these is to make sure that water is always kept away from the heater and from any electric circuit. Never touch an electric heater while you are wet and don’t use an electric heater as a clothes dryer by putting wet clothing too close to a heater’s element.