Temperatures are dropping, which means many consumers are in the market for a new space heater for the winter.
But beware: While it's an important and useful appliance, a space heater can also be harmful to you and your family. Heating elements can cause burns, and can be a fire hazard if not treated carefully, Denver's KUSA-TV reports.
If it's time to buy a space heater or upgrade your old model, keep the following tips in mind to stay safe and warm this winter:
Check for an automatic shut-off. The dangers of space heaters aren't new, and in response the industry has made many newer models with automatic shut-off systems. If such heaters are tipped over, they will automatically turn off which can prevent fires. While you still have to be careful the unit isn't too close to flammable furniture, at least accidentally knocking over the unit is unlikely to cause a fire.
Consider which type of heater is best for you. There are several different kinds of heaters that are available. Oil heaters provide gentler heat, infrared models mean the heating elements are never hot to the touch, and electric models can come with protected coils. Consider the risk of burns to small fingers, winter dryness, and the amount of heat you need when purchasing a model.
Follow the directions. Most consumer goods have a warning label that tells buyers how to properly use the product. If you use it according to the directions and someone gets hurt, you may be able to have the company pay for your injuries. But if you use it in a way that's not recommended, you may have a hard time bringing a lawsuit to recover.
If you are injured by a space heater or any other dangerous appliance in your home, you may not have to cover the bills by yourself. Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer about how you may be able to recover in a lawsuit against the product's manufacturer.