Space Heaters Emit Indoor Air Pollutants
Pollutants produced by space heaters
Recommendations for safe space heater use
Pollutants Produced By Space Heaters
Kerosene and gas space heaters contribute to poor indoor air quality by producing pollutants such as:
Many of these problems come from unvented space heaters. Unvented space heaters (which do not vent to the outside) are a problem since they release combustion pollutants directly into the home. In addition, use of unvented space heaters is illegal in some towns or cities, in certain dwellings, or in certain rooms such as the bedroom. Before you consider using an unvented space heater, check with your local and state building codes and fire ordinances.
Recommendations for Safe Space Heater Use
In order to safely use kerosene or gas space heaters, follow these recommendations:
Have a trained professional inspect your gas or kerosene space heater at the beginning of every heating season to make sure it is operating properly. If your space heater is not properly maintained, it can result in a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide gas.
Use proper fuel in kerosene space heaters. Only use water-clear ASTM 1-K kerosene for kerosene heaters, otherwise more pollutants could be distributed inside your home. Never use gasoline in a kerosene heater because it can cause a fire or an explosion. Using even small amounts of gasoline could cause a fire.
Only buy space heaters that have been tested and certified to meet current safety standards. Examples of certifying organizations are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the American Gas Association (AGA) Laboratories. Look for a label that clearly shows the certification.
Only use space heaters away from the home's living spaces, such as the living room and bedrooms). Never sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
Read and follow all of the instructions that accompany your space heater. If you cannot avoid using an unvented gas or kerosene space heater, carefully follow the cautions that come with the device. Use the proper fuel and keep doors to the rest of the house open. Also, make sure any space heater you use is a new one. Heaters made after 1982 have a pilot light safety system called an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). This system shuts off the heater when there is not enough fresh air and the heater is beginning to produce large amounts of carbon monoxide. Look for the label that tells you that the appliance has this safety system. Older heaters will not have this protection system.