Five Tips for Space Heater Safety

As temperatures drop this winter, many will look for supplemental heating sources for their homes. Space heaters can be a good alternative for those who want to warm one area of their home without turning up the thermostat on the central heating system. However, space heaters are also responsible for 32 percent of house fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. If you are planning to use a space heater in your home this winter, review the following tips to keep you, your family and your property safe.

Materials – What are the components of your space heater made of? Parts like metal grating can be hot to the touch and may burn anyone who gets too close. Make sure you purchase a heater that is cool to the touch and has guards over the coils just in case little fingers get too close.

 Placement – While it can be tempting to place a small heater on a shelf so it is not in the way of pets and children, it is safest to leave the heater on a level floor on a nonflammable surface. Keeping the space heater on the floor can keep it from falling over, preventing fire hazards. Also, remember that space heaters and bathrooms are not a good combination, unless the heater is designed for bathroom use. Moisture can damage the heater.         

The most important rule about space heater placement is the three-foot rule. Whether you are using the heater in the bedroom, living room or kitchen, space heaters should always be kept three feet away from flammable materials and out of the way of children and pets.

  Special Features – Does your space heater have an auto shutoff function if tipped over? Auto shutoff can be a lifesaver. If you currently own a space heater without auto shutoff, consider purchasing a heater with this important safety feature.

  Cords – You should never use an extension cord when plugging in a space heater as it can cause overheating. The space heater should be plugged directly into a wall outlet, and should be the only thing plugged in to the wall outlet. Also make sure cords aren’t in a high-traffic area so they are not a tripping hazard.

  Use – Never leave a heater unattended while in use. If you are leaving your home or going to bed, make sure to unplug the heater.

Following these tips and making sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions can keep you safe this winter.

Education in the Field

Chris Griffin in the field working and receiving certificate Union Power Journeyman Chris Griffin was recently recognized during a company-wide training event, for completing his Associate in Applied Science Degree in Electric Line Construction Technology. Griffin took classes both online and in person while working his full-time position.

David Gross, vice president of engineering
and operations congratulated Griffin on his
hard work and dedication. “I am so happy
that our Cooperative can help our employees
continue their education. Our industry has
been challenged with a tremendous wave
of retirements, and sometimes it can be
difficult to find motivated, well-trained and
knowledgeable workers to replace them. This
helps us maintain a knowledgeable workforce
for years to come”.

Union Power Cooperative provides education
incentives to employees who desire to further
their education and careers. The Cooperative
is invested in helping employees reach their
personal and professional goals.

Students- Apply Now for Scholarships!

As part of its commitment to community and enriching students’ lives, Union Power is now accepting applications for a variety of scholarship opportunities. Students will be selected from our five-county service area, which is made up of Union, Stanly, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, and Rowan Counties. More information and applications for these scholarships can be found under the My Community tab on our website.

Students in 5th through 7th grade can begin applying now for one of two summer basketball camp scholarships. The Co-op will sponsor one male winner to attend the Roy Williams Basketball Camp to be held at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill from June 16-20,2018, and one female winner to attend the N.C. State Women’s Basketball Camp in Raleigh from June 10-13, 2018. The application deadline is March 31, 2018. Winners will be notified in early May.

High school seniors can apply now for one of 10-$1,000 college scholarships: five for a 4-year accredited North Carolina university and five for a North Carolina community college. The application deadline is March 20, 2018, and winners will be notified in late May.

Let’s Talk Energy

Picture of Jake ThomasHello, I’m Jake Thomas, manager of marketing and energy services. For the past three months, I’ve shared various ways you can save money on your power bill and become more energy efficient. For part three of our Energy Talk series, let’s discuss lighting and appliance options. 


Energy for lighting accounts for about 10% of your electric bill. Replacing compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LED bulbs can provide an estimated $70 per year in energy costs. Examine the light bulbs in your house and consider replacing them with more efficient LEDs. When shopping for bulbs, consider the brightness of the bulbs you want. Whether soft white, cool white or warmer daylight white, it is a good idea to use the same color bulb in each room to provide consistent lighting color.  

Today’s LED lights measure light in Lumens and typically consume as few as 12 to 15 watts of energy versus their traditional counterparts. Be sure to search for the Energy Star rating on the outside of the box as well as the lumens and the Lighting Facts label.

Appliances and Electronics

The appliances and electronics you choose and how you use them affect your energy use and costs. According to, the average home spends about $2,200 on energy bills annually. Examine the appliances and electronics in your home and consider the following strategies for reducing energy use:

  • Unplug an item when it is not in use to prevent phantom loads;
  • Change the settings or use the item less often;
  • Purchase a new, more efficient product.

If you have questions about lighting or appliances or wish to schedule an in-home energy audit, contact one of our Energy Specialists at 704-289-3145. Visit our Energy Center at to obtain additional energy savings tips and tools.