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The humble space heater gets a bad rap, but when used correctly it can actually represent a good option for taking the edge off the winter chill. Here are some tips about how to safely use a space heater and when it’s a good choice:

Are you heating a whole house when the family is concentrated in the living room? Turn down the central heat and use a modern space heater rather than heat the empty rooms.

1. A space heater can be a wise choice when you live in an uninsulated or poorly insulated home.

2. Avoid unvented combustion space heaters. Instead, look for electric space heaters, preferably with a fan to circulate the hot air.

3. Never plug a space heater into an extension cord.

4. Maintain three feet of clear space around the heater in all directions. Be aware of loose rugs, blankets, or other potentially flammable objects nearby.

5. Unplug your space heater when no one is around to keep an eye on it.

6. Do not use a space heater in a damp room (i.e. bathroom!) unless it is specifically designed for outdoor or bathroom use.

7. Don’t hide the space heater electrical cord where it might get torn or degraded under foot. Run it where it is visible, but does not create a tripping hazard.

8. If you’re shopping for a space heater, consider this handy Consumer Reports buying guide: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/space-heaters/buying-guide.htm

By the way: Heating and cooling a large home after the kids have moved out can be a waste of your retirement dollars. If you’re thinking it might be time to downsize (or rightsize!) your home, get in touch today: Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS 904-422-7626 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

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