Before you start using a heater in the bathroom to keep you cozy, you’ll need to understand the safety implications involved. The purpose of this article is to let you know how to use a bathroom heater safely by providing you with multiple safety tips that you should keep during operation.
What is a Bathroom Heater?
Unless you live in a tropical paradise, chances are that you have experienced how chilly bathrooms can get especially throughout the cold seasons. There are plenty of considerations to keep in mind; however, having a good bathroom heater is the perfect solution to keeping you warm after showering.
Several bathroom heating options exist including panel heaters, towel radiators and rails, underfloor heating, ceiling heaters, and electric heaters with exhaust fans. Functionally speaking, all these heaters serve to create warmth in your bathroom space, though you will have to consider what is right for you based on size, budget, and preference.
Although you have the option of hardwiring your electrical appliance into your bathroom by a qualified electrician, many people prefer the convenience and portability of space heaters. So, in short, a bathroom heater can either be a hard-wired or portable unit whose purpose is to heat your bathroom for your ultimate comfort (keep in mind there are an array of health benefits involved as well).
Is It Safe To Use Portable Heaters in the Bathroom?
The safety of using portable heaters in the bathroom has been a point of criticism for years because of so many misconceptions flooding the homeowner market. However, if used and maintained properly, then you can use a portable heater to warm your bathroom space.
Anytime electricity and moisture share a common space, you should consider yourself forewarned of the potential risks of fire and electrocution. To abate these hazards, it would be helpful if you become familiar with the critical safety features that your new appliance should have.
If your new portable heater meets safety standards, you’ll next need to understand how best to use it within your bathroom space. Portable heaters are both functional and effective at distributing adequate warmth to the average size home bathroom – just be sure to continue reading so you can learn how to operate one safely.
How to Use Portable Heaters in Bathrooms?
There are several safety tips that you should employ if you so decide to use a portable heater in your bathroom. You should know that portable heaters require regular cleaning and maintenance to remain safe and effective. That said, space heaters remain popular amongst homeowners as a relatively inexpensive heating solution when compared to a more permanent installation method. (I don’t see any logic between these sentences)
Some of the other benefits of portable heaters include their ability to maintain lower standing moisture levels (humidity), thus combating unhealthy mold growth and unsightly mildew stains.
That said, you should be aware of several handling and usage precautions for your ultimate safety and well-being. Here are 10 of the most critical safety tips to observe:
- Closely follow all manufacturer’s instructions
- Never obstruct the unit with any flammable materials
- Do not use your space heater to dry wet towels
- Don’t overload your bathroom GFCI outlet with multiple appliances
- Never leave the space heater unattended or near pets and small children
- Always place the space heater on a steady surface (never propped or angled)
- Always unplug and store the space heater safely when not in use
- Keep the space heater at a safe distance from bathroom furnishings
- Be sure to push the cord against a wall so it does not create a trip hazard
- Perform regular cleaning and maintenance (be sure to check the overall condition of cord and plug)
Safety Features of Portable Bathroom Heaters
Before you go out and purchase your first bathroom heater, it would be helpful if you understood some of the safety features your new appliance should have.
Unfortunately, the majority of household fires occur during the colder months of the year. If you choose to utilize a portable bathroom heater in your home, you’ll want the comfort of knowing that the bathroom space heater you are interested in buying meets these four critical safety features:
- Certification from a reliable testing authority
- Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters
- Emergency Shutoff
- Well-made cord
The first thing you should look out for is a safety certification label stamped on your new bathroom heater packaging. Independent organizations such as UL, ETL, or CSA International conduct responsible testing of a broad range of product lines including household appliances.
Likewise, you should be aware of the unit’s IP ratings – a classification system that grades the degree of an appliance’s protection against unwanted intrusions such as dust, body parts, water, and other solid objects. The IP safety code consists of two digits – the first is assigned to the unit’s protection against the accidental intrusion of solid objects; whereas, the second is specific to the unit’s protection against moisture.
PRO TIP: You will notice that the best bathroom heaters have a higher overall score compared to less regulated products (each digit ranges from 0-6 on the two-digit IP rating).
Some portable heaters such as the Delonghi Caldobagno have been specially adapted for safe bathroom use since they are equipped with a GFI plug designed for an extra layer of protection against moisture.
However, do not assume that your bathroom heater has one because most space heaters do not come equipped with a GFCI plug.
To overcome this, please ensure that your space heater is plugged into a GFCI outlet – specialized outlets which detect a change in current flow (thus what is meant by a current interrupter) and consequently shut off to prevent electrocution or fire.
Look out for smart features on your new portable space heater such as tip-over and overheat switches. Such units are equipped with an array of internal sensors that work to detect optimal efficiency.
If the appliance is overheating or has been accidentally knocked over, then the electric heater will shut off automatically to prevent any further electrical damage that could result in fire or another emergency.
Never use an extension cord or power strip for a portable heater intended for bathroom use. Instead, make sure that the bathroom heater you purchase includes a sturdy cord that is at least 6 feet in length.
Portable bathroom fan heaters are widely used in home bathrooms worldwide as an effective means to keep the space warm and cozy after a shower. Please remember that you should only purchase a portable heater that meets the four critical safety features we discussed in this article.
After you have found a reliable space heater, then refer back to the list of 10 Safety Tips so that warming your bathroom will continue to be a pleasant and safe experience for years to come.