If you are considering buying electrically powered oil space heaters for your home or business, it is important to understand the dangers of oil heaters as well as their benefits. Understanding how these heaters function will help you be aware of danger signs and be confident that you are using them safely. Keep yourself safe by taking the advice of Davis Home Services.
If you’re ready to make the switch to a gas-powered heating system, call Davis Home Services, the trusted oil to gas conversion experts in Burlington, NJ.
Oil heaters are a cost-effective and fuel-efficient space heater that works by using electrical current to heat oil within enclosed tubes. The heat in the oil radiates out to the surrounding space, raising the temperature. Unlike kerosene heaters, electric oil heaters do not burn the oil during ordinary operation.
Because oil heaters do not rely on combustion, they do not typically produce toxic gases such as carbon monoxide. They can operate safely indoors without the need for ventilation. This greatly improves their safety relative to kerosene heaters and oil-burning furnaces.
However, just because oil heaters are relatively safe does not mean they are completely safe. As with any electrical appliance, they can cause injury or property damage if they malfunction or are misused. It is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and any warnings about the dangers of oil heaters before using them to heat your home.
Burns From Contact with Space Heaters
Every heater will raise the temperature of the air and household objects around it. Most oil heaters have safety guards that prevent people from burning themselves by accidentally touching a space heater. It is a mistake to rely on such guards and be careful not to touch an oil space heater or put yourself in a situation where you could fall and come into contact with a space heater.
Leaving the Heater Too Close to a Flammable Object
Any appliance that creates heat runs the risk of starting fires if its heating elements come too close to curtains or other flammable objects. An electric oil heater should have a guard to prevent accidental contact. Do not use an oil heater with a broken or missing safety guard. Take care to position your heater so that stray objects do not fall onto the heating elements. Dust in the air and on surfaces can also ignite during a fire, causing a rapid spread of fire or an explosion.
Placing the Heater on an Unstable Surface
An oil heater could be a fire hazard if it tips over, especially if it lands on the controls so that it remains stuck in the high heat position. If the heating elements touch thick carpeting or other flammable surfaces, they could ignite over time.
Allowing Oil to Leak From the Oil Heater
Electric oil heaters contain oil within sealed tubes that reduce the risk of the oil coming into contact with sparks or open flames. However, if the heater is cracked or has tipped over so that oil can leak out, the hot oil could catch fire.
Using the Wrong Fuel in an Oil Heater
The oil used in electric oil heaters heats up but does not burn or require you to add or change the oil. It is also in an enclosed tube without access to oxygen for combustion. There should never be any reason to replace the fuel in an oil heater.
If anyone were to introduce a different fuel into the heater and that oil had a lower flashpoint, it could catch fire if someone turned the heater on to a high temperature.
Failure of Safety Fuses
Oil heaters should stop working if the oil temperature exceeds a safe temperature because the heat trips safety fuses. If the safety fuse is broken, the oil temperature could become high enough to cause the heater to explode and catch fire. This causes several dangers, including:
● Scalding from the hot oil as it escapes from the heater
● Black smoke from partial combustion of the hot oil
● Injury from pieces of the heater ejected by the explosion
Do Oil Heaters Pose a Carbon Monoxide Risk?
Unlike kerosene heaters that burn fuel by design, oil heaters work by heating the oil without combustion. In principle, there should be no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, if the heater is not working properly – if the oil is overheated and exposed to air – combustion could occur, which can release dangerous gases, including carbon monoxide.
Although the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from an electric oil heater is low, install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and seek a well-ventilated area if the detector triggers an alarm.
Overall Space Heater Safety Tips
Responsible homeowners can take steps to reduce the dangers of oil heaters. These safety tips are useful for other types of heating systems as well.
1. Don’t leave your heater on overnight or unsupervised. Unplug your heater immediately if it seems to be overheating or acting strangely.
2. Do not use a damaged oil heater.
3. Do not attempt to repair an oil heater yourself unless you are a qualified repair technician.
4. Use your heater on a level surface.
If you have doubts about the safety of your electric oil heater, contact a professional repair company to inspect the heater and make repairs if needed, or install a new heating or HVAC system.
Are You Ready to Switch to Gas Heating? Davis Home Services in Burlington, NJ Can Help
If you are troubled by the dangers of oil heaters, installing a gas heater is one option. In addition to safety, there are many reasons to switch from oil to gas.
Davis Home Services offers heating, air conditioning, and plumbing services, including gas heating and HVAC installation, in Burlington and Cherry Hill. Act now to take advantage of our latest discounts. Call 844-226-9872 to schedule an appointment with a professional technician today.