Is It Safe To Leave A Space Heater Plugged In?

Space heaters are the best option to consider when you want to heat a small area or a single room. Although space heaters are convenient and easy to use, it’s not safe to leave them plugged in for longer without monitoring them closely. For instance, it’s not recommended for you to leave a space heater plugged in all night and go to sleep.

A space heater can cause fire and electric shock hazards if you don’t use it properly. If you improperly plug in your space heater, it may result in damages. That means you need to closely monitor the heater once you plug it in and ensure it’s working properly.

Why you Should Never Leave a Space Heater Plugged in

Space heaters are ideal for heating single rooms or small areas. However, while using a space heater, you need to exercise caution and ensure your home is kept safe from fire hazards that a space heater may cause.

This device requires close monitoring, which means you should ensure everything is properly set before running it in your home. It can pose plenty of risks to your home if not well checked while in operation.

Below are some of the issues you might encounter if you leave your space heater plugged in and unattended.

Risk of Fires

Like any appliance or device that generates heat, leaving a space heater plugged and failing to closely monitor it can result in fires. This is because space heaters tend to heat up when running for long, and if you don’t control their operation, the extension cord might overheat and potentially lead to a fire.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to closely monitor it or avoid plugging other things in the same outlet where you’ve plugged in the space heater.

Dries the Air

Space heaters warm air, and this makes the capacity of that air to hold moisture increase. But, since there isn’t any new moisture being added, the relative humidity tends to decrease. This makes the air feel drier, thereby affecting humidity. Therefore, you can either use a humidifier to tackle this issue or reduce how much you’re using the space heater to be safe.

Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

There is no doubt that space heaters pose the risk of fire hazards, which means you need to do your best and ensure that doesn’t happen. But, even if you do your best to prevent fire hazards from happening, another thing you shouldn’t forget is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Similar to other heating devices, space heaters also emit carbon monoxide. Therefore, this means that using your space heater at night poses a huge risk because you’ll be upping the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The worst and most scary thing about this gas is that it’s a silent killer, which means you won’t smell, hear, or see any warning – unless you have a carbon monoxide detector.

If you’re using a space heater and experience the symptoms of carbon monoxide, go outside immediately and call for medical assistance.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide are headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, blurred visions, and vomiting. You should also turn off your space heater if you experience such symptoms.

What Safety Features Should You Look for In a Space Heater?

There are several safety features you can look for before buying a space heater. This will significantly help you when using the appliance and prevent any potential hazards.

These features include:

Auto Shut-Off/Overheat Protection

The auto shut-off or overheat protection is one of the best safety features to consider checking when buying a space heater. This feature shuts down the unit if it senses that the internal component has reached an unsafe temperature. It is usually common in space heaters with a thermostat.

Tip-Over Protection

The tip-over protection feature helps to reduce the risk of your child or pet getting burnt. This is an internal switch that is programmed to automatically shut off the power if your space heater is accidentally knocked down or tipped over.


Fortunately, most space heaters have a thermostat that allows you to set the room temperature. This provides you with the flexibility to save energy and avoid waking up freezing in your home. But, this feature is rare to find in cheap space heaters. You’ll only find in digital units with two or more thermostat settings that enable you to choose your desired temperature.

Precautions to Take when Running a Space Heater All the Time or Overnight

As mentioned earlier, space heaters can be hazardous if not used properly. Therefore, it’s important to take various precautions when running a space heater all the time or overnight.

Check out these tips below.

  • Keep anything that can burn away from your space heater. This can include things such as furniture, bedding, and even curtains.
  • Ensure your kids stay away from the space heater when it’s running. You can inform them about the dangers that the appliance poses so that they can be aware.
  • Always turn off the space heater when going to sleep or when leaving the room.
  • Avoid using your space heater in a damp or wet area.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and test them often to ensure they are working properly.
  • Avoid exposing the heater to moisture unless it’s specifically designed to use in humid environments.
  • Another precaution you should adhere to is avoiding second-hand space heaters. This is mainly because an old space heater may not require safety features, which might be dangerous to use in your home.
  • Before you buy any space heater, ensure it has the right certification by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Intertek (ETL). Usually, you can find this certification indicated on the packaging of your space heater.
  • Don’t block the doorway or the route you would take in your house in case of an emergency. Therefore, to be safe in your home, you need to position the space heater a few feet away from the doorway or high-traffic area.


Using a space heater has its benefits and drawdowns, but it’s up to you to ensure that the appliance is kept safe. You also need to closely monitor the appliance to prevent any potential hazards that it poses for your home.