The winters in Michigan can be freezing and the heating system in your home can get a workout. To both save money and add extra warmth, many people choose to supplement their heat with small space heaters. These heaters come in a variety of sizes and types yet all have one aspect in common – they can cause serious injuries if they malfunction or are misused. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), about 1,200 space heaters caused fires in only a two-year period of time in the U.S.
Read the Instructions
Space heaters should come with clear instructions for proper use and warnings of any risks of harm. For example, a manufacturer should include warnings about placing the space heater near drapes or blankets if there is a possibility of the cloth igniting from the heat. The heaters should also come with warnings if the unit itself gets very hot, as this can cause severe burns if someone’s skin comes in contact with the hot surface. If a space heater does not come with adequate warnings and instructions, the manufacturer may be held liable if someone in your household gets injured.
Defects and Malfunctions
Like any other type of product, a space heater can be defectively designed or assembled in a manner that causes the heater to malfunction. Several different features of a space heater can be defective, including the following:
- Temperature controls
- Timer and automatic shut-off
- Electrical wiring
All of these parts should always be checked for possible defects by a company before the product is sold. If a company receives complaints of malfunctions or injuries, it should always issue a recall of the defective space heater when necessary to avoid widespread risks. The CPSC has a recall list and you can search for your particular make and model of space heater to ensure there is no known defect. If your space heater is recalled, you should stop using it immediately and follow all instructions of the recall. If you are injured by a defective space heater, you should discuss your legal rights with an experienced personal injury lawyer.