You may not know this, but space heaters are the sworn enemies of IT professionals across the globe. It’s a war dating back to the early 1800s when a local businessman took his horse to the town farrier to have the shoes trimmed—OK, I could go on and have fun with this, but I’ll stop. But seriously, space heaters have led to the demise of tens of thousands of computers, phones, tablets, and accessories over the last 25+ years. I have personally seen dozens of fried surge protectors, motherboards, monitors, cables, and other electronic equipment. With the cold weather approaching, I wanted to remind all of you of proper space heater usage in the office.
1. Never plug your space heater into a surge protector. Surge protectors, regardless of rating, are not designed to handle the high current flow required by the heater. They are to be plugged directly into the wall.
2. Never plug your computer equipment directly into the same duplex or quadplex outlet as a space heater without a surge protector. If you have multiple outlets in your office space, we recommend using an entirely different outlet if it is an option.
3. Make sure that the space heater is not pointed directly at any computer equipment in your space. I can’t tell you the number of times there has been a space heater on the floor pointing towards the users’ feet AND the tower under the desk!
4. Never use an Auto On/Off function. Be sure that the user is manually turning them on and turning them off over the course of the day, and of course, be sure to turn off when not present at your desk/office.
A couple more things:
Many insurance companies (and property managers) will not cover damages if the above four items are not followed! You read that correctly. An improperly used space heater can nullify your insurance coverage in the event of a fire and damage to your equipment, office, or building!
Lastly, speaking from personal experience, we have received countless tickets like the following: “My computer is shutting off by itself,” “My monitor is acting weird or has streaks across it,” or “My computer seems to be lagging, then suddenly catches up.” In each of those instances, a space heater was being improperly used, and it impacted the equipment around it.
Keep in mind, there aren’t many things that can physically damage a computer or electronic equipment, but electricity, temperature, and dust are the big three. Please use good habits with your space heater and help IT professionals win the war! 🙂