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Portable Space Heaters

The use of portable space heaters on the OSU campus is highly discouraged due to the energy required to operate them and an increased risk of fire. Portable space heaters should not be used to replace a buildings fixed heating system.


Requesting an evaluation for the use of a portable space heater

First, submit a request through the Facilities Management Customer Portal.

The problem code should read "Scheduling of Building Mechanical Systems, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) by Energy Managers." The request description should read "Evaluate office area for possible need for space heater."


Energy Management will evaluate the work area and determine if heating conditions are within normal operating parameters. The request may then be forwarded to Facilities Management O&M to ensure that the building's HVAC system is working properly. 


If it is determined that the work area would require supplemental heating, the request will then be forwarded to Environmental Health and safety to determine if it is safe to operate a portable space heater. 


Once the work area is determiend safe, the proper space heater will be obtained, and the University Fire Marshal will grant a permit for operation.


The permits are issued for a six month period and can be revoked at any time due to non-compliance with the requirements listed below.


Portable Space Heater Requirements:

  • Portable space heaters are not allowed in residence halls.
  • They must be Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listed or Factory Mutual (FM) approved.
  • They must be plugged directly into an approved wall receptacle. 
    • The use of extension cords or surge protectors is not authorized.
    • Receptacles installed in cubicles are not considered to be an approved wall receptacle.
  • They must be located more than 36 inches away from combustible materials such as paper, furniture, clothing, curtains, etc.
    • Zero clearance space heaters are preferred.
  • They must be locaded in plain sight and clearly visible on the floor.
  • They cannot be placed in a high-traffic area.
  • The cord cannot be placed under carpets or paper or across aisles or other walking paths.
  • Nothing can be placed on top of the heater.
  • Only electric heaters are allowed - no gasoline, kerosene or propane heaters are permitted.
  • The heater must be capable of automatic shut-off if tipped over.
  • The heating element cannot exceed a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius).
  • Heaters must be turned off and unplugged when the area is not occupied.
  • They must be inspected regularly by the operator for any damage to the unit or the cord.
  • All portable space heaters are subject to survey and approval by the University Fire Marshal or designee.

Environmental Health and Safety through the University Fire Marshal reserve the right to inspect and declare any space heater "unapproved" if it creates a hazard or is inappropriate for a particular location based on specific circumstances, codes, or legal requirements.


Exceptions can be granted to accomodate medical conditions that would require supplemental heating. 



Space Heater Request Manual

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