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Texas Department of Insurance
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January 2024

Space heater on? Know these safety tips


A space heater is a great way to warm yourself up in the winter months if you go about it safely.

“We see several fatal fires around this time of year that involve a space heater,” said Debra Knight, the state fire marshal. “Most of them are accidental and could have been avoided by following some basic safety steps.”

To avoid setting an accidental fire with a space heater, follow a few safety tips:

  • Inspect the heater to make sure it has no loose wires or cracked or broken plugs. If so, replace the heater.
  • Always plug your heater directly into a wall outlet. Avoid extension cords or power strips.
  • Reduce risk by keeping your heater at least three feet from anything that can burn, including furniture, blankets, or mattresses.
  • Turn off your heater before you leave the room or go to bed. The best way to be sure: Unplug it.
  • Never use or store flammable liquids in the same room as a space heater. And because heaters are electric, don’t get near one when you’re wet.

Heating equipment, including space heaters, are the third leading cause of home fire deaths behind smoking materials and cooking. Space heaters account for more than 15% of all home fire deaths.

Have a question about insurance? Call the Texas Department of Insurance at 800-252-3439 or visit