Space Heaters

Portable space heaters can pose a fire safety hazard. Using unapproved or unsafe space heaters or using them in an inappropriate or unsafe manner presents a fire risk. Although they are nice to have for extra warmth, they can cause burns and fires if not used properly. To ensure safety of life and property, all visitors, students, faculty, and staff are required to comply with the following requirements of the OSU Fire and Life Safety Compliance Guide in accordance with the Fire and Life Safety Policy. 


Space Heaters Policy

1. Portable space heaters are generally not permitted in any university owned or leased facility unless authorized by an Ohio State building maintenance department (such as FOD Operations or Student Life Facilities) or the landlord of a leased facility as a temporary measure to address inadequate heating by the building’s Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. Space heaters should not be used as a substitute for any required repair or maintenance of the HVAC system. Where approved, only electrical type space heaters, which at least meet the safety criteria listed below, are allowed. 

2. Only UL-rated space heaters are permitted for use on university premises. 

3. Space heaters of any kind are strictly prohibited in all Ohio State laboratories, in all areas in health care occupancies accredited by the Joint Commission (except, under certain circumstances, in a nonsleeping staff or employee areas only), and in all areas primarily used for the storage of chemicals or combustible materials.

4. The user of a space heater is ultimately responsible for any hazard or fire code violation created as a result of unauthorized or inappropriate use. 

5. If a space heater is to be used, the following safety criteria must be met, and operational safety precautions must be followed: 

  • The equipment is UL (Underwriter Laboratories) approved for the use for which it is designed. 
  • The equipment has a sealed element and does not produce any flames, fumes, or use any fuel. 
  • The equipment is equipped to turn off automatically when tilted or turned over. 
  • The heating elements cannot exceed 100 degrees Centigrade or 212 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Oil-filled electrical space heaters are recommended over any other types of heaters because they have the best safety record. 


Precautions for Space Heaters

  1. Maintain a minimum clearance of three feet at all times between stored materials and the heating device. 
  2. Never leave the heating unit “ON” when it's unattended. 
  3. Plug the heating unit directly into a wall outlet with sufficient capacity (not an extension cord) because it may overheat and cause a fire. 
  4. Check the heating unit before each use to ensure all indicator lights are working.
  5. Remove defective units from service immediately. 
  6. Ensure the power cord is properly plugged in and is not damaged or crushed by objects or covered under carpeting or a rug. 
  7. Promptly report any unsafe or hazardous conditions to Service2Facilities at 614-292-HELP (4357) or