5. Keep an eye on space heaters. Some devices can be left on while you're out, but space heaters especially should not be left unattended, particularly if you have kids or pets. Space heaters also need at least three feet of clearance between the device and combustible materials like Christmas trees, stacks of paper, bedding, or curtains. That's why Crombie says it's often better to pile on the blankets than run a space heater while you sleep. Although there might be a temptation to move the space heater closer to your bed at night, he says that throwing off the blanket or quilt in your sleep could lead to a fire if bedding gets too close to the heater.
The other temptation with space heaters is to close off the door to heat up the room. "A space heater or a wood stove is probably going to heat one room really well," says Rochman. "But there's a tradeoff between wanting to be safe and energy-efficient. It's good to have ventilation because heat dries things out." Still, she adds, "people have been using alternative heating sources forever and they can be used safely if you follow the instructions."