PUB-3000 requirements about space heaters can be found in the Fire Protection chapter of PUB-3000 (Chapter 12, Work Process I). Contact the Fire Marshal, Todd LaBerge (x 6071, TALaBerge@lbl.gov) if you have any questions or concerns.
IMPORTANT: Always consult with your local Facilities Area Manager (FAM) before purchasing or plugging in an electric space heater.
During cold weather, you might feel the need to use a portable electric space heater in your work area. We should try to avoid the use of space heaters due to power consumption and fire safety concerns. However, if you must use a space heater, consider the following safety requirements.
Minimum Safety Features
- Use only GROUNDED type (cord with three-prong plug) or double insulated, and listed and marked by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) such as Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL).
- Heaters must AUTOMATICALLY SHUT OFF when tipped forward or backward, or have an overheat protection switch. (Tip-over switches should be tested annually by tilting the space heater while it is turned on. If the switch functions properly, the unit will shut off automatically). Zero-Clearance [from combustible material] heaters listed as such by an NRTL are also acceptable.
- Keep heaters clean, NOT covered with dust.
- Maintain cords in good condition (e.g., intact insulation, grounding pin in place, not frayed).
- Always read and follow manufacturers’ operating instructions before operating the heater.
- Always TURN OFF the heater or UNPLUG it when you leave the office for an extended period (i.e., meeting, lunch, and at the end of the day).
- Do not try to use a portable space heater to heat the entire suite or floor. Portable electric heaters are designed for use as supplemental heat for a single room or small area. They should provide temporary heat only.
- Contact the Building Manager to have the building heating system inspected and adjusted if the heating requirement is permanent, or if multiple persons within the office suite or space are using electric portable space heaters to supplement the heat in the same area.
- Contact the Building Manager in the event a space heater causes the circuit breaker to trip. This indicates that the circuit is being overloaded.
- Do not plug a heater into extension cords or plug strips. It must be plugged into a permanent wall outlet. If a new wall outlet is needed, contact the Building Manager to have a wall outlet installed.
- Place the heater on a level and sturdy surface.
- Do not use where flammable or explosive vapors, dusts, or toxic materials may be present.
- Do not place heater near combustible materials such as papers, magazines, drapes, or office furniture. Follow manufacturer guidelines for placement of the heater. If no manufacturer guidelines are present, provide at least 36 inches clearance in front of the heater and 18 inches from the sides and back.
- Do not use heaters in or near wet areas such as locker/shower rooms.
- Do not place a heater in an exit way where the cord can become a tripping hazard.
- Portable heaters may interfere with the proper control of building HVAC systems. Avoid placing them near thermostats.
- Never run a power cord under the carpet or floor mat.
Watch this video for additional safety with space heaters, including your home!
PUB-3000 requirements about space heaters can be found in the Fire Protection chapter of PUB-3000 (Chapter 12, Work Process I). Contact the Fire Marshal, Todd LaBerge (x 6071, TALaBerge@lbl.gov) if you have any questions or concerns. In addition to increasing safety by reducing potential overload conditions, especially in cubicle environments, these requirements are part of the LBNL Management goal to comply with DOE Order 430.2B, and Executive Order 13423. For additional information, see Sustainable Berkeley Lab, or email the Sustainability Program.