Are space heaters illegal in NYC?

Ted Curley
Journeymen wiremen at US Electric-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

Hello, I'm Ted Curley, a licensed electrician with a wealth of experience in the electrical field. I've launched this platform to share my extensive knowledge and insights with you. My journey in the electrical field spans over a decade, during which I have cultivated a deep understanding and expertise in...Read more

Ted Curley
Journeymen wiremen at US Electric-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

Hello, I'm Ted Curley, a licensed electrician with a wealth of experience in the electrical field. I've launched this platform to share my extensive knowledge and insights with you. My journey in the electrical field spans over a decade, during which I have cultivated a deep understanding and expertise in...Read more

Before you plug in a space heater, it's important to understand the regulations and safety measures surrounding its use. In this article, I will explain whether space heaters are illegal in NYC, the regulations imposed by the city, and the safety precautions you should take when using these devices.

The Tragic Twin Parks Apartments Fire

Less than a year ago, a devastating fire broke out in the Twin Parks apartments in the Bronx, claiming the lives of 19 individuals. The cause of the fire was determined to be a faulty space heater, prompting the need for stricter regulations and safety standards for these devices. In response to this tragedy, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation (S.7863A/A.9181B) to ensure that electric space heaters sold in New York State meet higher safety standards.

The Safe Space Heaters Act

The Safe Space Heaters Act, as it is commonly known, requires electric space heaters to have thermostats, automatic shut-offs, and certification by a testing and certification body recognized and approved by the United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This legislation aims to prevent future disasters and keep New Yorkers safe as they heat their homes during the winter months.

State Senator Cordell Cleare, one of the key proponents of the Safe Space Heaters Act, emphasized the importance of preventing fires and saving lives through this legislation. He commended Governor Hochul for signing the bill and stated that it is designed to make residences safer during the heating season.

Assemblymember Kenny Burgos, another advocate for the Safe Space Heaters Act, highlighted the significance of taking action after the Twin Parks apartments fire. He expressed gratitude towards Governor Hochul for signing the life-saving bill and ensuring that New Yorkers can stay safe in their homes.

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Understanding the Regulations

To comply with the regulations in New York City, it is crucial to be aware of the specific requirements for space heaters. According to the amended general business law, retailers are prohibited from selling electric space heaters in New York State unless they have a thermostat, automatic shut-off, and certification by a testing and certification body recognized and approved by OSHA.

The purpose of these requirements is to enhance the safety of space heaters and reduce the risk of fires and other accidents. By incorporating thermostats and automatic shut-offs, the heaters can regulate the temperature and automatically turn off when certain conditions are met, preventing overheating and potential hazards.

Safety Precautions for Space Heater Use

While the new legislation ensures higher safety standards for space heaters, it is still essential for individuals to take additional precautions when using these devices. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

Proper Placement
Place the space heater on a level, non-flammable surface, at least three feet away from any combustible materials like furniture, curtains, or carpeting. Never hang clothes over a space heater to dry.
Supervised Use
Never leave a space heater unattended, especially when there are children or pets in the vicinity. It is crucial to monitor the heater and ensure it is turned off when not in use or when leaving the room.
Avoid Overloading Electrical Outlets
Do not plug the space heater into an overloaded electrical outlet or use an extension cord. It is recommended to plug the heater directly into a wall outlet to prevent overheating and potential fire hazards.
Regular Maintenance
Keep the space heater clean and well-maintained. Dust and debris accumulation can pose a fire risk. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and maintenance.
Carbon Monoxide Detection
Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, especially if you use fuel-burning space heaters. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can be produced by faulty heaters, posing a serious health risk.
Ventilation
Ensure proper ventilation when using fuel-burning space heaters. These devices require an adequate supply of fresh air to prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide.
Use Approved Fuel
If you are using a fuel-burning space heater, ensure you use the appropriate fuel specified by the manufacturer. Using improper fuel can lead to malfunctions and potential hazards.
Emergency Preparedness
Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures in case of a fire or other accidents. Have a fire extinguisher readily available and know how to use it.

    By following these safety precautions, you can mitigate the risks associated with space heater use and ensure the well-being of yourself and your loved ones.

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    Additional Resources

    To further enhance your understanding of space heater safety and prevent fires, the NYC Fire Department provides valuable resources on winter and holiday fire safety. Visit their website for comprehensive information on fire prevention measures.

    For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning prevention and detection, visit the Department of Health's Carbon Monoxide page. This resource will help you understand the dangers of carbon monoxide and how to protect yourself and your family.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, space heaters are legal in New York City as long as they comply with the regulations set forth by the Safe Space Heaters Act. The recent legislation ensures that electric space heaters sold in the state meet higher safety standards, including the presence of thermostats, automatic shut-offs, and certification by an approved testing and certification body. As a responsible user, it is essential to follow the safety precautions outlined in this article to prevent accidents and protect yourself and your loved ones. Stay warm and stay safe this winter!

    Ted CurleyJourneymen wiremen at US Electric-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

    Hello, I'm Ted Curley, a licensed electrician with a wealth of experience in the electrical field. I've launched this platform to share my extensive knowledge and insights with you. My journey in the electrical field spans over a decade, during which I have cultivated a deep understanding and expertise in various roles. Let me take you through my journey and my passion for electricity and space heaters. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at ted.curley@tedreviews.com

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