Tips to Live By: Portable Electric Space Heaters

Sep. 23, 2019

As the weather turns colder, many across the Princeton University campus will attempt to utilize portable electric space heaters to take the chill out of their work area. Fire Marshal Scott Loh urges all staff to review the Heating and Cooling Guidelines provided by Facilities and the Conservation Initiatives Guide to reducing energy consumption.

After review, if you still plan to use a portable electric space heater, make sure to follow these instructions:

  • Only use a heater with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Plug the heater directly into a wall outlet, never use an extension cord or relocatable power tap (power strip), which can easily overheat and catch fire.
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including you.
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat; overheat protection, and an auto shut-off to turn the heater off should it be tipped over.
  • Place the heater on a solid, flat surface.
  • Keep space heaters and cords out of the way of foot traffic and any exit pathways.
  • Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the space.
  • Space heaters are not permitted in any undergraduate or graduate dormitories or annexes.

Power Strip Warning

Fire Damaged Space Heaters

Visit the webpage of the University fire marshal to learn more about fire prevention. If you have any questions about fire safety on campus, contact Scott Loh at 609-258-7343.

Public Safety offers fire extinguisher training classes in the fall. Visit to register: under Training by Topic, choose Fire Safety. For additional information, contact