TULSA, OK – [December 10, 2021] – As temperatures continue to fluctuate over the coming weeks into the cooler overnight lows, the Tulsa Health Department (THD) would like to remind Tulsa County residents of the importance of safe and adequate heat for your home or apartment.
Heaters must warm the living space to a minimum of 65°F. Space heaters are not considered a primary heat source, and should only be used to supplement permanent heat sources. According to the International Property Maintenance Code Section 602.3, adequate and safe heat sources must be available to occupants of living structures. THD may be able to help determine if a heat source is adequate, safe or not safe.
“Unsafe heat is dangerous to someone’s health,” said Bernard Dindy, environmental health services manager. “Everyone’s home should have a safe and proper source of heat during the cooler Oklahoma months. If anyone suspects their heater is unsafe or inadequate, they can call THD for inspection.”
Gas and electric cooking stoves should never be used to heat a living space. Any heater or cooking equipment designed to be used outside the home should never be used inside because of the threat of both fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Open flame gas heaters (vented and unvented) may be harmful if not used properly. Gas heaters that are not working properly could introduce the toxic gas carbon monoxide into living spaces. Most gas heaters specify where they can or cannot be used. When used properly gas heat is effective and efficient, but when improperly installed or used they can be deadly.
THD officials discourage the use of space heaters but recognize that people may rely on them during cold winter months. To minimize danger to health and potential house fires, THD stresses that space heaters should be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn – especially bedding and paper. Space heaters should NOT be used as a primary source of heat.
“If you need to use a space heater, make sure you do so safely,” added Dindy. “You should never connect space heaters with extension cords. Use heaters that have been tested for risk of fire, electric shock and other hazards.”
THD offers these tips:
Heaters must warm the living spaces to 65°F.
If space heaters must be used, use them as needed, plug them directly into the wall outlet and keep them three feet from anything that can burn and on a hard floor surface.
Gas heaters must be approved to be used in some living spaces and have required safety devices.
Chimneys and wood burning stoves should be properly vented and properly cleaned and maintained
Never use a cook stove to heat a living area.
Buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, to shut off the heating element if the heater falls over.
Properly install and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
For questions regarding your heat source, please contact the environmental health services program at 918-595-4200.
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