Leaving A Space Heater On Overnight: 5 Best Practices

Leaving A Space Heater On Overnight

Have you ever wondered whether you can leave your space heater on overnight? In most cases, the answer is yes, but let’s take a closer look. Here are 5 best practices when doing so.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more pleasant sensation than falling asleep in a warm, cozy room. The experience is so relaxing and comforting, that getting out of bed the next day can be a challenge.

No one likes to go to bed while shivering and freezing, so, ideally, you want to keep your space heater running overnight as often as possible.

But how can you do that while keeping yourself, and the appliance, safe?

Leaving your unit on overnight is possible in most cases. However, there are some things you must take into account if you want to make it a standard practice and avoid issues.

Ever since I figured out the best way to keep mine on overnight, I feel well-rested and ready to take on my mornings.

I want you to experience that as well, which is why I’ve prepared the list below.

In it, you’ll find some safety recommendations and best practices you can follow to make your dream of sleeping every night in a warm room, come true.

Does that pique your interest? Let’s get to work!

Leaving Your Space Heater on Overnight

I bet one of the main reasons why you haven’t done this yet, is because you’re scared of a house fire, or an appliance malfunction.

And as a guy who checks the door locks three times before going to bed, trust me when I say that I get it.

When we sleep, we enter such a vulnerable state, that it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on around us. This justifies the fear of something bad happening to our heater while we’re not looking.

That being said, there are some ways to keep the unit on safely while we get our well-deserved rest, so bear with me as I tell you all about them.

Here Are Some Things You Can Try:

#1 Program a Shutdown Time

You may rest easier knowing you’ve programmed deactivation over the night’s course

I know the whole point of this is to help you find a way to keep your space heater on overnight safely. But in case you just want to fall asleep with it on, and don’t mind if it deactivates later, try this.

Programming shut down time will not only allow you to doze off calmly, but also ensure that the appliance will shut down after a couple of hours or so.

This is a great option if you don’t feel safe leaving it on all night, and want to save some money on electricity. After all, once you’re comfy beneath your blankets, you won’t have much use for your heater anyway, right?

Unless your model is a very basic, it should have a programmed shutoff feature. Make sure to read your user manual and experiment a little with the settings to find the best one for you.

Smart Space Heater Next To Bed
In case you have an intelligent space heater, it is always a good option to configure a shutdown after a certain use time.

#2 Keep It Away From Flammable Materials

Always maintain a safe distance between your appliance and flammable objects

If you’ve been doing some research about this topic, there is a very good chance that the reason behind it is the concern of a house fire. And it’s totally understandable.

After all, space heaters can be a fire hazard, especially propane models. That being said, you’ll be glad to know that every one of these units is equipped with a myriad of safety mechanisms designed to prevent an accident from happening.

Components like tilt switches and thermostats ensure that your heater never reaches dangerous temperatures, nor stays on if it tips over.

However, if despite all these safety countermeasures, you know you just won’t be able to sleep due to the constant concern of something catching on fire, try placing the unit far from anything flammable.

Objects, such as drapes, towels and sheets, can easily catch on fire. If you want to go to bed in total relaxation, make sure to place the appliance at least 3 feet away from any of these.

#3 Keep Your Smoke Alarm Functional

This device could let you know when something goes wrong while you’re asleep

This is not only a best practice for leaving a space heater on overnight. It’s a best practice for everything.

Keeping your smoke alarm working at all times is essential to guarantee your safety and that of your family. As you can imagine, about 99% of homes in the world, are equipped with them, as they have become a preventive standard that is even included in some housing codes as mandatory.

Whenever I feel anxious about leaving my appliance on overnight, I find that knowing my smoke detector is in tip-top shape, helps calm me down, and get a good night’s sleep.

Again, the chances of your space heater starting a fire in your home are slim to none, as the safety mechanisms inside the unit have been designed with nearly all possible catastrophes in mind.

But, if you find comfort in the idea of being protected by your smoke alarm, by all means, rely on it, and give this a go!

#4 Mind Your Wall Outlet

Making sure your outlet is fully functional can help keep you safe overnight

You’ll be surprised to learn that your wall outlet is much more likely to cause a house fire than your space heater is.

While having a wall outlet malfunction so badly that it causes severe short-circuiting is very rare, under some circumstances, it can happen. Bad practices, such as overloading it with too many devices at once, or using one that has shown signs of damage in the past, could put you in an inconvenient situation.

The best thing you can do to leave your space heater on overnight safely is to check that the outlet you’re connecting it to is unscathed, and avoid plugging any other devices in it during that period.

Space heaters are power hungry machines, which means they will take up a big chunk of your outlet’s maximum safe voltage on their own. Connecting anything else to the same power source, is asking for trouble.

Sadly, a lot of people tend to focus only on the appliance, and fail to look at the entire power supply chain, which often results in an inconvenience.  Make sure to use your space heater consciously, and distribute your electrical load evenly.

Wall Oulet Gets On Fire
Using the same power source for anything else than your space heater is a recipe for disaster.

#5 Double-Check Your Power Cord

Avoid short-circuiting by keeping your power cord in good condition

Lastly, let’s take a look at your power cord.

A damaged power cord is just as likely as a bad wall outlet to cause short-circuiting, fire, and permanent damage to your space heater. If you’ve ever stripped one of these cables, you know that inside their large rubber housing, there are smaller cables inside it that transport electricity.

And while they’re built to last, they’re certainly not indestructible.

In fact, apparently unimportant bad practices, such as storing your cable improperly and keeping it tangled or pressed against an object in a sharp angle, are more than enough to do it in.

In order to leave your space heater on overnight safely, you must make sure that your power cord is not damaged or causing any type of short-circuiting. The latter condition can cause your unit to overheat, and give you a lot of trouble.

The best way to tell whether there is a problem with your appliance or its internal and external components, is by leaving it on during the day, and observing how the heater behaves.

Should everything work normally for the entirety of the operating cycle, you have nothing to worry about, and can use your machine to keep you warm while you sleep.

Good news, huh?

Other Things You Should Check

While the best practices discussed above should keep you safe regardless of what make, model, or version of heater you have, it’s always best to check your specific case online.

The best way to find what safety mechanisms or certifications your appliance has, is either by checking your user manual, or by Googling “(Your Make and Model) safety certifications”. More often than not, this search should return valuable information about your unit.


Being able to keep your space heater on overnight is a comfort that can be easily attained. However, it’s always important to go about this safely. A lot of people avoid doing this out of fear that something could go wrong as they sleep.

And while their concerns are valid, I hope this piece has helped you feel a little safer about keeping your appliance running at night.

Most space heater models out there, are equipped with safety mechanisms to prevent accidents and keep you safe at all costs, so you’re protected right out of the box.

That being said, it’s always a good idea to go above and beyond. Making sure to place the unit away from flammable objects, and double-checking your smoke alarm is fully functional, can also contribute to the safety of this process.

Thank you so much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you found this article helpful, why not become an expert in the subject through our other incredible resources below?

I wish you all the best!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more