What Heaters Are Safe to Leave on Overnight?

  • by: Joshua Cooper
  • Reading time: 9 min.
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Space heaters are a great way to keep you and your family warm in the winter.

Turns out, many people often question whether space heaters are safe to leave all night. Whether you are present in your room or not, space heaters are not safe to leave on all night long.

Leaving Heater Overnight

These heaters pose various health and safety risks such as carbon monoxide poisoning, unexpected home fires, dry skin, and many more.

Do you want to know what heaters are safe to leave on all night? We’ll give you comprehensive advice on that and answer other FAQs concerning the safety of leaving heaters on overnight.

What Is the Safest Heater to Leave Unattended?

There are different types of space heaters available today based on different categories, such as the medium used to generate heat and the power source to the space heater. When it comes to the power source, the space heater can draw its energy from gas, propane, kerosene, or even coal.

Simply put, the safest of the power sources to use to arm your room during cold nights is the electric type. Electric heaters are readily available in the market, though more expensive than other types of heaters.

They generate ample heat for your room by converting the energy drawn from being plugged into an electric outlet to heat energy.

What’s even better, it is easier to build on the different necessary safety functions when using electric space heaters. For instance, electric heaters come with features like the timer, auto mode, tip-over protection, overheating protection, a cool-to-touch service, and many more.

Therefore, it is safer and more comfortable to go for an electric space heater.

Can You Leave an Electric Heater on All Night?

According to the consumer product safety commission, more than 25,000 residential fires every year in the U.S are connected to space heaters, which has led to at least 300 deaths. These statistics raise the question, are these space heaters responsible for such fatal fires over the years safe to be left on all night?

Well, it depends on the surrounding conditions and the type of heater being used. There are different features to mitigate the start of a sudden fire.

For instance, the tip-over protection feature for turning off heaters in the vent they fall face ground can cause a fire to start upon the surface the device lays on due to excessive heating.

This overheating protection feature helps shut off the space heater and prevent excessive heat concentration, leading to a fire breaking out.

If your heater has these two features, you can leave the heater on all night. Another critical thing to note is that you should program the thermostat to raise temperature levels too high for more safety. The way you position your heater also matters.

Remember, do not position the space heater facing any fabric or wooden surface. The best way to be safe with a space heater is to turn it off if you are leaving the room completely.

You cannot always guarantee your safety and that of your entire home with space heater use but you can come up with mitigation procedures for any risk that might occur.

Is It Safe to Sleep With a Heater On?

If the sound of the space heater blowing out warm air on a chilly night excites you, you are not alone. There are alternative forms of heating like electric space heaters you might have used before, intending to cut down on your energy expenses and keep you and your family warm during a cold winter night.

All that said, space heaters are generally regarded as unsafe to keep on while sleeping. So for a comfortable, safe, and good night, consider turning your heater entirely off before you sleep.

Besides, some heaters emit carbon monoxide, which can be harmful to your health and the entire family.

Reasons Why It’s Not Safe to Sleep With a Heater On

Space Heaters Cause Fires

One of the main reasons why it’s not safe to leave your heater on all night is because heaters can cause house fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment like space heaters is the second leading cause of home fires, especially during winter.

The fact that space heaters are the most popular heating equipment is why the high number of fire cases and deaths are caused by space heaters.

Reports by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission indicate that more than 25000 house fire accidents are caused by space heaters annually. More than 300 deaths and over 6,000 individuals with burn-related complications that visit the emergency department in hospitals every year are often linked to space heaters.

Most space heater-related house fires occur when the heater tips over or when a heater accidentally overheats an item in the room. Besides, most old heaters can also malfunction or accidentally overheat and start a fire in the wiring.

This is most likely to happen if you are using an outdated breaker or fuse for your space heater. You can always avoid most of these home heating fire deaths by paying keen attention and practicing all the space heater safety measures when using your heater in your home or bedroom.

However, the risk is not worth it since you never know the damage that a simple malfunction might cause. To be on the safe side, you can warm your room for 2-3 hours before you retire to bed.

The warmth generated by the space heater within that timeframe is usually efficient to keep you warm for the rest of the night. Therefore, please turn off your space heater and unplug it from the unit.

Space Heaters Emit Carbon Monoxide

Mitigating the risk of a space heater causing fire can be easy given the new inventions in space heater technology. However, even when you take all the necessary precautionary measures to avoid heater accidents that can cause fire, another critical risk you wouldn’t want to forget of is carbon monoxide poisoning.

Just like many other heating devices, heaters also emit carbon monoxide. That said, when you leave your night on all night, you are increasing the chances of poisoning.

The worst part of this type of poisoning is that it’s considered a silent killer since you won’t notice the gas’s odor as you breathe out, hear, see, or even sense any danger. The poisonous gas is fatal and kills in a few hours.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include; feeling short of breath, feeling weak, headache, feeling dizzy, nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision. If you are experiencing any of these signs when you use a space heater without any explainable reasons, you should look out for carbon monoxide poisoning chances.

The best thing to do after having any of these experiences is you should go out immediately. It would help if you took a deep breath of fresh air to see whether your symptoms improve and then turn off the heater and let your bedroom air out.

Space Heaters Dry Out the Skin

Even when you try loads of moisturizer, your skin is most likely to dry out during winter. In this case, you may blame your dry skin solemnly on the weather, but you could be ignoring one main course of dry skin; your space heater.

With the latest innovations in space heating technology, you may tend to warm up your home all night and night long.

The main disadvantage to this is that this form of heating strips your skin moisture, leaving it to dry out. Besides, dry skin may lead to other health complications, especially when you notice the development of cracks on your skin or any other similar health issues.

If you feel like your skin is always dry, you need to consider running your space heater sparingly. Alternatively, you can also opt to install a whole room humidifier or get yourself a humidifying unit for your home.

This way, your kin will be provided with the much-needed moisturization at night. Additionally, you should always moisturize before you sleep during winter to maintain normal healthy skin.

Are Oil Heaters Safe to Leave on Overnight?

Oil-filled radiator heaters are some of the most popular innovations in space heating technology. The modern space heaters are suitable for small and individual rooms. However, the most common question is whether these oil heaters are safe to leave on all night.

These modern heaters are usually fitted with health and safety measures to mitigate any risks that might occur when using your space heater. Therefore, all these risk prevention measures are put in place.

As long as you have put your space heater in the right position, confirmed its stability, and ensured that the thermostat is working correctly, you can be safe leaving an oil heater on all night.

Remember to make sure you don’t place your space heater close to inflammable items or next to your bed.

Are Ceramic Heaters Safe to Leave on Overnight?

Ceramic heaters warm up your space by passing electric energy through the ceramic plate that gets heated with time before radiating the heat generated into your space.

Therefore, instead of the entire unit getting hot, only the ceramic plate gets heated as the outside plastic surface remains cool.

That said, it’s evident that ceramic space heaters are safe to leave on all night long given that the outside casing does not get heated up; hence remains cool, not losing any kind of risk to you and your family.

Ceramic heaters are some of the safest heaters you can leave on all night long.

Are Infrared Heaters Safe to Leave on Overnight?

If you are looking for space heaters safe for use and that are cheaper than their counterparts, you should consider the infrared space heaters. Infrared heaters are operated by a warm-up air force.

When the room temperature exceeds the current body temperature, your body absorbs to give your body that warm feeling. This is how the infrared heaters heat up your space, by warming up the air that your body will absorb in the room temperature is more than your body temperature.

Therefore, infrared space heaters are safe to leave on all night, given that they heat air into the air instead of directly heating the object. Remember, direct heating is the primary cause of heater-related fire accidents.

That said, it’s still imperative to keenly put all the necessary precaution measures in place when using an infrared heater.

Also, ensure that the heater you want to purchase is working correctly and take precaution guidelines from the seller before buying your infrared heater. Most infrared heaters’ outer surface is too hot to touch.

You should ensure that the heater you choose has all the necessary safety features, not forgetting a cool-touch exterior.

Are Vented Propane Heaters Safe to Leave on Overnight?

Vented propane heaters are not safe to leave on all night long. Given the health risks that come with leaving vented propane heaters all night long, it’s generally not a good idea to leave them running all night long.

You may also decide to leave some heaters operating, but the best thing to do is turn the heaters off before you sleep or set up a timer so that the heater can run for a few hours only.

How Long Can Heaters Be Left On?

Given that space eaters are generally not safe to leave on overnight, the next burning question that most people ask is how long can heaters be left on?

The good news is that with the new technology, you can leave modern heaters on for quite a long time because they are fitted with numerous safety features that are designed to detect any unsafe operating heating levels.

One of the main safety features is the overheat protection that operates by shutting off the heater if the temperatures are unsafe. Another outstanding safety feature is the tip-over protection, which turns the unit off when the heater is knocked accidentally.

Make sure your heating element has all these features for more efficiency and safety at your home.


In conclusion, you should first note that electric heaters should not be used as the primary heat source in your home. Most accidents and fire-related risks occur when you use your space heater too much or inappropriately.

It’s true, accidents are bound to occur even if you use the heaters as directed by the manufacturers. It’s always recommended that you take all the essential precautionary measures to minimize the amount of damage that may occur.