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Portable heaters: avoid fires!

Portable heaters are an effective way of heating a room and are very practical in the bathroom, guest room or office (especially when teleworking). They work either with electricity, gas or oil. But beware, their use is not without risk. The first danger is fire. A few simple precautions will help you avoid disaster while enjoying comfortable heat. Here are a few tips.

Chauffage d'appoint

Every year, as soon as the temperature drops, we notice an increase in fires linked to auxiliary heaters. The cause? Incorrect use, careless installation or insufficient space around the heater. Incidents that can easily be avoided by taking a few simple precautions.

Opt for a good auxiliary heater

Beware of second-hand or cheap heaters: their origin is sometimes uncertain and there is a high probability that they do not meet the current safety standards. In addition, they consume a lot of energy. The best thing to do is to invest in a new appliance by going directly to specialists in the field.

In any case, look at the label on the appliance and check that it bears the CE mark. This certifies that the system meets the safety and quality protocols set out in European Union legislation. Other national or international safety standards may apply depending on the type of fuel or energy (gas, oil, electricity, etc.). For more information, ask a professional.

Generally, portable heaters are quite light and can easily fall over: check that the appliance has an anti-drop device, which stops its operation as soon as it falls over.

Don't install it just anywhere or in any way!

Usually, we underestimate the heating power of a portable heater. However, there is a risk that nearby curtains, carpets, sofas or even wooden furniture may catch fire... This is why it is strongly recommended to install your mobile heater far from any flammable material, including walls.

  • Allow at least one meter of clearance around and above the heater, and avoid placing it in small, cluttered or poorly ventilated rooms.

  • Check that the appliance is stable and not likely to tip over: be careful not to hang it up or put it on high places, for example. Many fires are caused by the heater falling over unexpectedly, especially when there are children or pets present.

  • Always connect an electric heater directly to a wall socket. Avoid the use of extension cords or power strips, as these can cause the system to overheat and start a fire. Also check that the circuit breaker of the circuit on which you are switching on the heater has sufficient amperage.

What should I do if I have electrical damage?

Can I move my portable heater? Of course, it is designed to be moved! But be careful... Never try to move it when it is working. Wait for it to cool down to avoid problems. Move it vertically and carefully to avoid leaks!

Note: not all portable heaters are designed for the bathroom. Electricity and humidity don't mix! If you plan to use your heater in the shower room, be sure to tell the seller.

What precautions should be taken to ensure safe use?


  • Butane, propane, petroleum... Each heater is set for a specific fuel: always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Only fill the heater when it is switched off and cold.

  • Never leave the oil can or gas bottle near the heater!

Do not overuse!

Portable heaters are designed to be used regularly, not as a primary heating system. Not to mention that your bill could be affected...

  • Do not leave the heater on unattended, especially when children are present: turn it off at night and as soon as you leave your home.

Final advice:

  • Air the room for at least 10 minutes a day

  • A portable heater is not a clothes dryer: never put your clothes on it.

  • Have your portable heater checked and maintained by a professional every year.

And finally, have enough fire detectors in every area of your home!



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