However, space heaters are also the top cause of winter house fires. But by following just a few simple steps, you can help keep your home and family safe.
With frigid temperatures hitting the Permian Basin, many people are relying on space heaters to keep themselves warm. They're small, portable and cheap, so it's easy to see why so many people count on them. But these small heating devices also pose a great fire risk.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 66,000 homes were involved in a fire caused by some sort of heating equipment across the country last year. 480 people lost their lives in these fires, and they caused more than one billion dollars in damage.
One common starting place for fires isn't in the house at all, but in a doghouse.
"People are worried about the welfare of their pets so they install lightbulbs or other kind of heating appliances in doghouses and we usually have 2 or 3 of those fires every year," Assistant Fire Marshall David Hickman.
Since doghouses in most cases are located near the house, it's easy for the fire to spread.
Hickman said that all space heaters should be at least 3 feet away from anything that could catch fire. If you plan on using a heating device that uses gasoline, you should invest in a carbon monoxide detector. Most homes are so airtight and won't allow the device to properly vent.
"Symptoms of carbon monoxide are dizziness, nausea, headache, severe headache," said Hickman. "If you start feeling those symptoms then please get outside. You can call 911 and we can come by if you have any symptoms and we'll check your home with a meter to make sure if you have and levels in your house."
Ovens and dryers are also ways that some people heat their house. But don't do this! It's a huge risk, and it's also illegal.
Most department stores sell space heaters and a lot are now equipped with safety measures that automatically turn the device off if it tips over.