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space heater safety

Is Sleeping with a Space Heater on Good or Bad?

When a cold snap pays us a visit here in eastern North Carolina, our homes can get pretty chilly. And trying to sleep when you’re freezing isn’t easy.

That may tempt you to supplement the heat in your bedroom by running your propane space heater while you’re sleeping.


This merits all-caps and boldface because using a propane space heater while sleeping can have disastrous and potentially deadly consequences for you and your family.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that space heaters are responsible for 43 percent of home heating fires in the United States. They are also the cause of 85 percent of the deaths associated with home heating fires.

More than half of the fires caused by space heaters occurred because the heaters were too close to combustible items such as furniture, mattresses, curtains, clothing, bedding and area rugs.

In addition to fires, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a risk when it comes to using vent-free propane space heaters while you’re sleeping. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, which means you can take in a dangerous amount of it while you’re sleeping before the CO detector near your bedroom goes off. If carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream, it replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells. That means critical organs like your heart, brain and lungs aren’t getting the oxygen they need to function.

Using space heaters in bedrooms while you and your family are sleeping may seem like it would save money overturning up the thermostat, but it isn’t. Using space heaters while keeping the thermostat too low overnight also increases the risk of frozen and burst pipes.

Be safe with space heaters

Today’s propane space heaters are great for supplemental heating for unheated spaces or spaces that don’t get sufficient heat. Think garages, home additions, sunporches, finished attics and sheds.

They also come with several safety features. But you still need to use them properly and safely. Here are some tips to help you do that.

Sleep warm and snug with the space heater off

You don’t need the space heater to be on when you sleep to have a warm bedroom. Nor do you have to crank up the heat in the whole house. We have some tips to help you take the chill out of your bedroom.

Do you have questions about propane space heating, energy-efficient heating, or propane safety? Get in touch with Parker Gas and we’ll gladly answer them!