Winter is coming up, and many people try to stay warm with portable heaters. They seem convenient, right? Plug them in anywhere and you’ll be warm in no time!

However, this is rarely the case.

Electric heaters draw a large amount of power. Homes are rarely wired to anticipate heaters plugged in on many circuits, and likely won’t even be able to handle two on a singular circuit. Below are some safety tips when using a portable electric heater if you need to keep warm this winter:

  • Never use an extension cord or power strip to power a heater—only plug it directly into a receptacle (electrical outlet).

  • Never leave a heater unattended! There’s the possibility it could tip over, or overheat and start a fire.

  • Never use a heater if the prongs or cord cap are burnt, charred, or otherwise damaged.

  • Make sure flammable objects have at least a 3-foot clearance around the heater.

If your portable heater ends up tripping your breakers routinely or you lose some power on a circuit from a heater, chances are you’ll need a dedicated circuit for it. By running a dedicated circuit to a heater, you will make sure you stay heated, other appliances on that circuit will stay on, and you’ll have peace of mind this winter.