Electric Oven At home

The last thing you want during a severe winter storm is an inoperative heating system.

If this goes on for several days, you will need to stay really warm.

Besides warm clothing, you need an alternative heating source.

This could be an electric space heater that has a tip-over switch or a fireplace where you and your loved ones can hurdle together to stay warm.

Nevertheless, you should be careful about the heating appliance you use to avoid fire accidents or carbon monoxide poisoning.

It’s not okay to heat your house using an electric or a gas oven. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is real if you use an electric or gas oven to heat your home.

They were simply not designed to heat indoor spaces.

Safety Tips During a Heating Emergency

Safety for Heating system

The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is real during extremely cold seasons. This is the time most families are huddled together around a heating appliance to stay warm. There is also a risk of fire hazards during this season. Here are several safety guidelines one should adhere to during the winter:

  • Make sure you have battery-operated carbon monoxide and smoke detectors that trigger an alarm in case of an emergency. The batteries should be inspected regularly to make sure they are functional

  • Make sure you have good ventilation to the outside before burning anything other than candles.

  • Have vents for all heater types except electric ones. Only connect your stovepipe to a functioning chimney flue.

  • If you are using an unvented heater, a catalytic, or a cross-ventilate, keep the window an inch open on every side of the room. You would rather let in a bit of cold air instead of taking chances with carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • If you are using a “space” heater, it needs space. If you have combustible items, keep them at least 3 feet away, and don’t refill your space heater when it is hot or in operation.

  • Take your heater outdoors to refuel it and make sure to only use the manufacturer's recommended fuel, and carefully follow instructions.

  • By all means do not let children anywhere near portable heaters, whether they are fuel-powered or electric.

  • Using an electric or gas oven for heating is a no-no. Most of the time, a gas oven may not burn properly, or it may go out, which could result in carbon monoxide poisoning. As for the electric oven, the manufacturer did not have space heating in mind when they designed it.

  • Keep outdoor barbecue materials such as charcoal briquettes outside. By all means don’t use them inside your house, even in your fireplace. Carbon monoxide fumes emitted by charcoal briquettes could be odorless and highly toxic. Deaths resulting from carbon monoxide fumes have been reported in the past.

  • Avoid using any bottled gas in a natural gas appliance if you have not converted the appliance for that purpose. Also resist using piping and flues that are designed to burn gas with higher-temperature oil, wood smoke, or coal.

  • When using an alternative heat source, assign one person to watch the fire and ensure adequate ventilation. Should you have a headache or feel drowsy, check the ventilation. It could be the culprit.

  • Make sure there are fire-fighting materials nearby just in case. These should include some sand, a heavy blanket or a tarp, dry powder fire extinguishers, water, baking soda, and salt.

What to Consider When Buying a Space Heater

Heating your room during winter is not a luxury. It’s an essential must-have. However, not all space heaters are the same. Below are some of the considerations you should be aware of when buying a space heater: 

  • Space: Before buying a space heater, you need to decide how much heat you need. Most space heaters consume anywhere from 600 to 1,500 watts per hour. You get more heat with a higher wattage heater. The exact space heater will depend on the size of the space you want to heat. Ideally, check the specifications on the device to make sure the heater you are buying can efficiently and safely heat your space.

  • Utility Costs: Your power utility bill will be affected depending on how long your space heater is on. For this reason, buy a space heater with the right wattage per hour. If you will be using the heater as the main source of warmth every day, you need to factor its contribution to the cost of the electricity bill. If, for instance, the heater uses 1500wph and your company levies 10 cents for every kilowatt-hour (KWh), running the heater for one hour will cost 15 cents.

  • Safety Features: Space heaters are a major cause of fires across the U.S. The Consumer Product Safety Commission notes that every year, over 25,000 household fires can be traced to the use of space heaters. 6000 emergency room admissions and, unfortunately, 300 fatalities are also attributed to space heater fire accidents every year. When buying a space heater, go for one that comes with safety features that minimize fire risks.

  • Among the safety features your space heater must have include built-in overheat protection and a thermostat. The heaters are recommended for the very reason that they allow one to select their preferred room temperature. They also provide automatic shut-off should the appliance start overheating internally. Another recommended feature is a tip-over switch, which is critical if your home has pets or children that keep bumping into the heater, causing it to tip over. In such incidences, the appliance automatically turns off every time it accidentally tips over.

  • Plugs and Cords: Pay attention to the cords and plugs of the space heater before purchasing it. To avoid fire hazards, avoid plugging the appliance into an extension cord. Always use an open outlet.

Safety Tips When Using A Space Heater

Space Heater

Ideally, you shouldn’t use a space heater to warm your room. The hazards associated with it are quite scary going by available statistics. But then again, so are road accidents and other occupational hazards that have left so many maimed or dead.

Rather than proscribe the use of space heaters, how about using them safely by observing the following safe-use practices:

  • Keep them on the floor: always make sure the space heater is firmly placed on the floor, not on a stool or shelf, or even on that wooden bench in your basement. And while at it, avoid placing it on a rug if at all possible, and you should never place it on your bed. Placing it on such surfaces increases its risk of tipping over, which could result in a fire. Look for the smoothest, flattest surface around you and place your space heater there.

  • Keep It Off Water: This should be a no-brainer. The last two things you want to unite are water and electricity. Keep the appliance out of bathrooms and your kitchen to avoid flare-ups.

  • Keep it away from flammable items: If there’s a flammable object in the vicinity, observe the “three-foot-rule” prescribed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Don’t place a space heater anywhere within 3 feet of a flammable object. Flammables include pillows, curtains, furniture, beddings, and papers. These objects can easily catch fire and should be kept where they can’t fall anywhere near the space heater, even during an earthquake.

  • Always have someone to watch the heater: By all means, the space heater should not be left unattended when it is on. Someone must always be on the watch, especially if you have pets or children playing around, in which case you should make sure they stay at least 3 feet away from the heater. Never leave a heater in a room with children, even when unplugged. Children can be very curious at times, and it’s not inconceivable that a child will try to fiddle with the plug and the switches. 

  • Switch the heater off before retiring to bed: Never leave the heater on while asleep. If you need warmth while asleep, consider buying models that go on emitting heat long after they are switched off.

  • Plug it into a wall outlet: avoid plugging your space heater into a plug timer, an extension cord, or a surge protector. There’s a real danger of overloading the circuit, or increasing resistance, consequently allowing heat build-up and precipitating internal electrical damage or fires.

Types of Space Heaters

Types of Space Heaters

Below are some of the space heaters you will find in the market. The ideal one depends on the specific requirements of a space.

Convection Heaters

These are designed to warm the air in a room, not the objects or people inside it. They emit hot air that rises up to the ceiling where it displaces cooler air, forcing it to the floor where it is heated and pushed back up to continue the cycle.

Radiant Heaters

Unlike convection space heaters, the goal of radiant space heaters is to warm the objects and people in a space, not the air. People sitting in front of this appliance receive heat first. It’s a great appliance if you need heat right off the bat. However, radiant heaters are associated with several hazards, such as burning those who touch them. They also pose a real fire hazard if placed too near combustible or flammable items. As a safety precaution, keep them at least 3 feet from such materials.

Combination Heaters

If you are looking for the best of both worlds, consider a combination heater. These heaters come with a fan for distributing heat across a space. However, compared to the other types, they are not as efficient. You can use them in any room in your house.

Infrared  Heaters

These heaters generate instantaneous heat through infrared rays. They are recommended for quick and instant heat since they are highly energy-efficient, offer direct heat, and are silent when working. They are ideal for dining areas and living rooms as they easily blend in with furniture due to their appearance. Some are built using wooden cabinets, hence they resemble wooden furniture more than appliances.

Recommended Heater for a Draughty Building

electric halogen heater

An electric halogen heater is ideal for a draughty building. This is because its infrared heat targets heating objects instead of heating the surrounding air. Hence, it is perfect for a draughty building that constantly has a flow of cold air, which would be a daunting task for a small heater to try and keep the entire air mass at certain temperatures.

Conclusion

An electric oven is not designed to heat your house. It’s an oven. Period. Any claim to heating your house is only coincidental. What you will need to heat your house is a space heater, and they come in various types. These include convective, radiant, or combination heaters, among others.

Ideally, space heaters should not be used in closed spaces at all, but the reality for those who live in extremely cold areas is such that one cannot avoid using one type or another. Whichever type you settle for, choose one that can adequately heat your space safely and efficiently, and remember to switch it off before turning in, or when there are children and pets running around.