Space Heater Policy

UMass Amherst recognizes that individuals have different levels of comfort associated with temperature and heat.  In order to use these appliances as a temporary measure, please make sure these guidelines are followed. Space heaters must be:

  • Electrically powered. Space heaters must not take more than 120 volts of electricity to operate.
  • Fuel powered (propane, kerosene) space heaters are not permitted.
  • UL (Underwriter's Laboratory) listed.
  • Fan driven. Space heaters with heated coils are not permitted.
  • Thermostatically controlled; unit shuts off when a certain temperature is reached.
  • Protected with an automatic shutoff feature, if a space heater is knocked over.
  • Plugged into a wall receptacle or approved power strip. Do not use an extension cord.
  • Turned off when the area being heated is not occupied. 
  • Located in plain sight and clearly visible.
  • Kept at least 3 feet away from any combustible material.
  • Kept in good working condition.

Replace missing guards and controls at once. Have the heater checked periodically and have all necessary repairs done by a qualified person. Place in a location where it is not touching any other objects. Hot plates and toaster ovens should never be used for space heating. Always read and follow the manufacturer operating instructions. Physical Plant or Environmental Health and Safety may inspect and disapprove any space heater that creates a hazard or is inappropriate to a particular location based on specific circumstances, code, or legal requirements.

Attribution: This guideline was developed from source material provided by California State University/Fullerton and Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.