Ask The Expert: Safe To Run A Ceramic Heater All Night?

When the cold weather starts to hit, many thoughts come into your mind, such as, “I’m gonna start having to shovel my driveway soon” or “I need to bring my heater out here shortly.” Sometimes we may want heaters to remain on all night, especially if you live somewhere that gets extremely cold during the nighttime.

You may be looking into a ceramic heater for your home, but is it REALLY safe to run a ceramic heater on all night? Well, let us ask the expert on this subject!

Ceramic heaters are one of the safer options to leave on during the night. However, it is a smart idea to take the necessary precautions for heater safety. This is because a ceramic heater has a cool-to-the-touch exterior. It is much less prone to overheating and causing an explosion.

In this article, we will be speaking on many subjects such as how to use your ceramic heater safely, safety features to look out for, the advantages and disadvantages, and the best ceramic heater available for purchasing. We are more than confident that you will know the answer you seek by the end of this article! 

Is It Safe To Run A Ceramic Heater All Night?

Going more in-depth on the subject, it is not 100% safe to leave any heater on. Although it may seem as if nothing would happen, the plug, in itself, can malfunction, which will potentially cause a fire in your household. As you are sleeping, you cannot hear that zapping sound or see smoke start when it initially starts. 

Where there are fires from ceramic heaters, this is mainly caused by a blown fuse. However, although the ceramic covering is cool-to-the-touch and has a plastic casing wrapped around it, having a malfunction can pose a massive threat to your home. Always check the heaters regularly to ensure it is working properly.

On the contrary, ceramic heaters are a MUCH safer option to use during sleeping hours and less prone to starting an electric fire. Chris Harvey, PIO. Sacramento Fire Department, mentions that using an electric heater and oil-filled heaters are safe for use indoors and in sleeping areas. However, propane and kerosene heaters are dangerous to use indoors and should be avoided.

Safety Tips

When looking for a heater to fill your room with that cozy feeling, it is always essential to remember what safety and precautions need to be taken into account. So, what are some safety tips you can do when it comes to your heater? Well, there are quite a few, so let us go over them more in detail down below. 

1. Keep Flammable Objects Away From The Heater

Having flammable objects away from the heater may be a given for some, but it is still essential to practice these safety precautions. If you have an overload of flammable objects, such as linens, clothes, couches, etc., this will cause a fire hazard. It is vital to keep things at least 3 feet away from where your heater is initially, including the walls, for better safety.

2. Never Use Your Heater To Dry Clothes

One other thing to keep in mind is never use your heater as a dryer for your clothes. Your clothing can dry out quickly, which will lead to a fire. Although there are some objects you need to air dry out, especially if there are wrinkles in the clothes, this is not the way to go.

We suggest using an iron press or hang the clothes up in the bathroom as you take a shower to allow the steam to do its job. 

3. No Children & Pet Zone

If need be, we recommend putting a no children and pet zone sign or baby gate that will block the heater off from them in its entirety. Just make sure the wire is not directly underneath the gate and goes through one of the bottom openings.

You can also explain to them that heaters are scorching hot and could burn, which is another reason why they need to remain further away. Never leave children or animals unattended while you are not present, either. 

Overall, young children and animals are brilliant, so although it may be an issue at first, rest assured, they will get more familiarized with their surroundings and keep a further distance from them.

Even when your toddler is running around endlessly, and you cannot seem to get them to calm down, most of the time, they will stop in their tracks and slowly walk around it. 

4. Practice Smoke Alarm Safety

It is vital to always test your smoke alarm batteries at least once a month by pressing the middle button. You will then listen to the beep to ensure it is working correctly. Always replace the batteries twice a year and replace the entire smoke alarm every ten years. 

Do not disconnect the smoke alarm because there is a false alarm. We understand this may be frustrating as nothing is going on, and it makes you worry a bit, but it is essential to do it in the now instead of later. You can set reminders on your calendar every six months to remember to do this.

5. Always Plug The Heater In Properly

It is never safe or okay to plug your heater in an extension cord or power strip. This is because the circuits can cause overload, which will cause a spark or have it melt. Although these solutions are temporary, they will not solve any issues you have on hand, and these objects are not designed to handle the heat.

It would be best to plug your heater into the wall and not add anything else into that outlet to prevent overheating. If you use a ground-fault-protected outlet or the type that has a red test button, stop using your heater if it trips off. 

6. Operate the Heater In A Safe Location

This means that it is essential to keep your heater safe from objects and people and make sure this is set on a solid and flat surface. It is not recommended that you place ceramic heaters on top of an object, even flat. However, putting it on a hard floor instead of a carpet is one of the best options to do.

7. Never Leave Your Home Without Turning Your Heater Off

As we quickly learned from above, it is never safe to leave your ceramic heater unattended. Going moreover that in detail is a must to ensure your safety. Households with older wiring systems may not have enough power to give an electric outlet enough wattage the heater relatively needs. 

When you are leaving the room, it is indispensable to turn it off on your way out, even if you will be just a few minutes of leaving. It would be even better to unplug it, especially when you are not at home for many hours of the day. Plus, this will save a lot of money on electricity in the long run! Realistically, it would be better to unplug many of our stuff in the homes, but of course, that takes a lot of work.

Essential Features To Look For

Overall, there are quite a few safety features to look for in a heater alone. Many radiators have these installed in them, but knowing what to look for is necessary when finding the right heater to get for your home. If you have an older heater that does not include any of them, it is best to find a newer model or different heater that has these characteristics:

1. Automatic Shut-Off

When your heater is starting to get overheated, you are going to need an automatic shut-off button. Looking for a model with this allows safer circumstances to occur. 

In addition to this, looking for a heater that will turn off after a certain amount of usage would be best as well. For example: if you only wish to use your heater for 5 hours out of the day, look for a feature that allows it to turn off after 5 hours. Most heaters nowadays go up to a 12-hour usage, then it can be automatically shut off, but there are still many that do not hold this miraculous attribute. 

2. Thermal Fuses & Thermistors

Having these safety traits available allows your heater to be protected from both overheating and electrical surges, which can prevent a fire. Search for cords with a fuse and melt and disconnect if the electrical current gets too hot. 

Not only that, but a thermistor will allow the power to be cut off if too much electricity is detected.

3. Low Center Of Gravity

Many models have a weighted base or are shorter and more square than tall and rectangular. There would typically be a broad base that gives out the weight that will be harder to tip over in the first place. This also means that the heat would not make its way to a rug or another flammable object. 

4. Look For Ceramic Covering

As we are currently talking about ceramic heaters, look for a radiator covered in ceramic rather than metal or plastic. Although it is not necessarily safe to leave a ceramic heater running due to the wire malfunctioning, they are still one of the safest options for you to have.

Ceramic heaters are wonderful for households with little children and pets because they are much cooler to touch than a regular heater, evidently preventing burning. 

Are There Any Dangers to A Ceramic Heater Running Overnight?

When it comes to owning a space heater, you want to ensure your household’s safety. There are some dangers when it comes to leaving your ceramic heater on overnight:

1. Property Damage

If a heater were to burn, some issues have gone wrong in terms of damaging the property. Once it malfunctions or tips over, you can ensure no turning back unless you have the safety features listed above. Without these features, a space heater tipped over means they are more than likely going to cause fires. Not to mention it will ruin the floors if it gets hot enough.

Another common mistake homeowners make putting items or flammable objects on top of a space heater, thinking this will warm the area more or dry out quicker. This is a massive no in terms of what to do. Just ensure you come back to the safety precautions part of this post to use as a reference.

2. Burning

Although ceramic heaters are much safer in not getting burned due to their cool-to-the-touch exterior, it is always important to be cautious around space heaters. Even if you were to get a burn from them, it would be very minimal. 

3. Shock Hazard

Every electronic device can cause an electrical shock to anyone, especially if the device is not plugged in correctly, you have old wiring, or if the equipment is damaged, faulty, or defective.  

Space heaters are designed to use a lot of electricity converted into thermal energy to allow you to be comfortable. However, space heaters are often overloaded on the circuits because of the electricity usage and can trigger either a power outage or fires.

4. Fire Hazard

Obviously, we know that space heaters can cause fire hazards, especially when in contact with flammable materials. It is important to note that not all space heaters are built equally, whether height, shape, design, or weight. This is why it is vital to look for all of the safety features listed above. 

Are Ceramic Heaters Bad For Your Health?

Leaving a heater on constantly can cause your sinus area to dry. Since these heaters have burning metal coils, it means your nose and skin will eventually dry out, too, causing potential nose bleeds to occur. If you have ever lived in the desert, you know what I am speaking of.

It would be good to steer away from these heaters altogether for those who have any respiratory issues on hand. Being that radiators give off dry air means you will wake up to mucus in your lungs or throat. Waking up to mucus in your throat is never any fun.

One thing that will truly help you during the winter months is investing in an air humidifier, especially if you still insist on getting a heater within your home.

Having an air humidifier may help prevent the dryness in your body better if you wish to continue having the heater on.

However, if you do not notice much difference, consider other heating alternatives for your house. Some of these things include:

  • Electric blankets
  • Extra clothes
  • Better insulation with the windows or household
  • Heated floor mats
  • Hand warmers
  • Heated mattress pad
  • Heated hoodie
  • Heated shoe insoles
  • Flat-panel heater

Another suggestion for helping out with your health could be to crack your door open for better air circulation if you leave the radiator in your room. Plus, your room will not get extremely hot, and you will not wake up to night sweats.

Pros & Cons

Advantages & Disadvantages Of A Ceramic Heater

We know a lot of information already, but there are quite a few pros and cons regarding owning a ceramic heater. If you wish to understand how a ceramic heater works in the first place. A ceramic heater is heated up by its metal coils, which run on electricity.

After the metal coils are heated, the ceramic casing will heat itself, allowing the ceramic to absorb electrical heat, and it will then get released into the air.

Unlike oil-filled heaters, ceramic radiators should warm the room up relatively fast unless you have put it in a space that is more than what the heater can toast up. A typical heater with 1500 watts can warm an area of 140 square feet.

There are two types of ceramic heaters: one without a fan and one that has a blower. 

  • With a fan: The fan helps give out heat faster into the room. 
  • Without a fan: The heating process will take much slower because the air has to absorb the heat due to it being warmed up by ceramic plates. 

However, here are some gains and losses for ceramic heaters:

PROSCONS
LightweightDoes not heat larger areas (best for smaller areas)
Instant heatingCeramic heaters without a fan are slower to warm a room 
Compact in sizePhysical objects can block heat transfer
Cool-to-the-touch exteriorMost ceramic heaters need to run constantly to deliver fluent heat
A digital thermostat on some brandsIt cannot be left on all night
Easier to maneuver aroundDries the air out
Heat can fluctuate for better comfort
It takes a longer time to cool down after being turned off

What Is The Best Ceramic Heater To Buy?

We at Heaterspace have done a vast amount of research into looking at precisely the best ceramic heaters available for purchasing. It is always essential to look at every detail to ensure you are truly getting the best value in money. Thankfully, these specific types of radiators will not make you go broke! 

Honeywell UberHeat Ceramic Heater ($36.44)

This Honeywell model does not lack many things. They have all the safety features, such as oscillation, a sturdy base, and a cool-to-the-touch exterior, as it should be. The heater in itself has a programmable thermostat, easy-to-use digital controls, and two heat settings:

  • High (1500 watts)
  • Low (750 watts)

Not only that, but the Honeywell UberHeat also has a cutoff switch to prevent overheating, an overheat sensor, and a 360º tip-over protection switch. Because it has a smaller design, it will fit into any room of your house comfortably without taking too much space. 

Many people who have purchased this heater are delighted with the product in terms of customer reviews. The only complaint many have said is that it is noisy, but if you love white noise, this should not be an issue for you. 

Lasko 755320 ($64.99)

This heater includes a few features, such as a built-in timer that allows you to adjust the heater’s temperature, oscillation speed, and timer. Not only that, but this heater comes with remote control, so you do not have to leave your nice, warm spot on the couch!

The radiator has two High and Low settings, which run at either 1500 or 750 watts. Because it has a significant oscillation, the heater in itself will distribute warm air throughout the room. The Lasko also comes with a digital display that allows you to select the specific temperature you want, ranging from Fahrenheit to Celsius. 

Lastly, this particular heater comes with overheat protection to ensure it will not overheat or be left on for an extended time. As Honeywell mentioned above, the heated area will remain warm for a more extended period because it has a cool-touch exterior. Lasko also has tip-over protection if an accident were to occur. 

In terms of what the customers feel, this heater is mostly good but can be loud. Some owners who bought it mentioned that the heater tips over quite a bit, which may be something the manufacturers should work on in that regard.

Portable Electric Space Heater ($29.99)

This particular space heater provides two heat levels: one at 1500 watts and 750 watts. It produces heat and blows as a fan so that you can use this during the winter AND summertime. The thermostat can be adjusted to an extended length and provides an auto-off button once it tilts over. 

Thankfully, this heater is very easy to carry around, making it not so bulky to sit in just the corner of a room. Lastly, this portable electric space heater can heat up to 200 square feet and has upgraded abs material, making it more flame-resistant than some other heaters. 

Customers have noted that this ceramic heater does indeed have extreme heat, which is a massive plus for heaters! Some people say they cannot get the temperature consistent, while others have noted that this particular heater tips over reasonably quickly. 

Oscillating Space Heater ($59.99)

Please do not be mistaken, but although this heater is small, it is relatively robust. This oscillating space heater can turn 120° back and forth. It comes with a three-mode setting: a fan, 750 watts, and 1500 watts. 

You can adjust the thermostat with the remote control, time how long you wish for it to be on, mode, and oscillation mode on or off. This heater also comes with overheat protection and is perfectly safe for babies and animals to be around, thanks to its exterior being cool. 

Reviewers have mentioned that it works but have had issues with the remote control beforehand. However, you can assure it will fit whatever needs you to have! 

Related Questions:

Do Ceramic Heaters Make Noise?

In terms of a ceramic heater with a fan, it will make constant noise instead of a ceramic heater without a fan.

However, if you love listening to the sound of white noise, this should not bother you, but if you are prone to hating the noise in itself, then the best option for you to get is a heater that does not have a fan on it, like an oil-filled heater or a ceramic heater without the fan. 

Do Ceramic Heaters Wear Out?

Because ceramic heaters have very durable heating elements, they are likely not to wear out quickly. Ceramic heaters will last up to 10000 hours long, which, if they were run 24/7 (although they shouldn’t be), would equate to a little over a year, or 416 days.

Being as that is, ceramic heaters would more than likely last you anywhere between 2-5 years, depending on how well you take care of it.  

Final Thoughts

To come to terms with what we were originally asking if it is safe to run a ceramic heater at night, the answer is that no, it is not. This is because the heater is run on electricity and can cause a short circuit in the wiring, leading to a fire. 

Although many ceramic heaters are generally safe, it is always best to be safe than sorry in any circumstances that deal with heat or electricity. We are confident that you know enough information now to decide whether or not these heaters are for you, and we wish you the very best of luck in finding something that will work to fit the needs of your household! 

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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