It's cold out there, and space heaters are a popular option to keep warm. But before you buy one, there are some things you need to know to keep you and your family safe. There are so many different kinds of space heaters on the market, and there are things you need to look out for to make sure you are getting the right one.
This time of year, stores like Wal-Mart and Lowe's are packed with space heaters, but now that the cold weather is settling in, many people like Harold Jest are rushing to the stores to grab them up.
"I was watching the weather on WTOC and they were talking about the weather being cold," Jest said. "I have two of them already but I decided I'm going to need three of them because they say it's supposed to get down to 18 and I want to make sure I'm warm."
Although Lowe's isn't experiencing a big rush, Wal-Mart says its space heaters are flying off the shelves. "Sales really started to take off on space heaters," said Arthur Dawson of the Beaufort location. "When I came in this morning, the shelves, they looked wiped out. You can notice we have a lot of empty spaces on the counters."
But with so many different brands, shapes and sizes, it's hard to tell which heater would be the best. So, here's a good rule of thumb. "Keep in mind how long the cord is and will it reach and make sure it has a good base," advised Beaufort fire marshal Dan Byrne. He also noted that space heaters should be approved by the Underwriters Laboratories; the certification will be noted on the box.
Although a lot of these heaters have a number of safety features, they all can become dangerous if you're not careful. "Don't plug it into an extension cord," said Byrne. "Make sure you don't place it near anything combustible, window drapes, bedding, furniture."