Exercise caution if using electrical generators:
The use of portable heaters and electrical generators can be life-saving or deadly.
As with all equipment, the best advice is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. University
of Minnesota Extension has important information for you regarding the use of
portable heaters and generators, but safety information, specifications and instructions
for specific products must be obtained directly from the manufacturer or distributor.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions. If you are not clear on instructions, get clarification
- Know whether your generator is for indoor or outdoor use. Never use an outdoor
generator indoors. Use gas-powered generators outdoors only.
- Indoor generators still require a proper ventilation system because the fumes can
- Call your power company to make sure you have the proper voltage, frequency,
and safety switches. If you do not, you or someone else could be electrocuted.
- Wiring and equipment must be installed in accordance with the National Electrical
Code, local ordinances and requirements of your power supplier.
- Make sure the unit is clean and in good running order. Dust and dirt accumulations
on the motor can cause it to overheat in operation.
Use portable heaters only if necessary:
- Make sure your heater is approved for indoor use. Fire and
carbon monoxide are the main hazards when using portable
- Never put blankets or clothing near the heater for any reason.
- Never leave the heater unattended at any time. During the
night, a responsible family member must stay awake to
watch the heater. Sleep in shifts. If this is not possible, turn
the heater off and find another way to stay warm.
- LP gas heaters are too dangerous for indoor use and should not be used. Use
kerosene heaters instead.
- Never put regular gasoline in a kerosene heater. It is likely to blow up.
- Keep children far away from portable heaters.
- Place the heater on a stable, noncombustible surface, with a piece of sheet metal
under it. Do not place the heater on carpeting.
- Keep the heater at least 3 feet from all objects, walls and curtains.
- Keep several windows cracked to ventilate gas fumes.
Full PDF Version (344 K PDF)
See the related program: Extreme Weather Flood & Water.
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, this material is available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact your University of Minnesota Extension office or the Extension Store at (800) 876-8636.