Space Heaters

Photo Credit: Wonderful Engineering

Santa Cruz is often synonymous with beaches, Summer, and warmth.  However, this leaves out about half of the year where the temperatures stay in the 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit range.  As a result, many students come to UC Santa Cruz expecting warmer weather and being underprepared for the colder months.

A common remedy is the use of space heaters, which are divided into a few types:

Table of space heater types and their status as permitted or not permitted in UCSC Housing.
Heater Type Description UCSC Housing Status
Fan-forced A fan blows warm air over heated metal coils. Permitted
Oil or water-filled Heated oil or water travels through the heater. Not Permitted
Ceramic  Air is warmed over a ceramic heating element. Not Permitted
Infrared Heat is created by infrared bulbs. Not Permitted

We recommend that you strictly follow guidance from the National Fire Protection Association regarding what kind of heaters to use and how to use them.  This guidance includes this checklist:

  • When purchasing a heater, make sure it has the seal of a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, people too!
  • Choose a heater with an adjustable thermostat and overheat protection.
  • Place the heater on a solid, flat surface.
  • Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over.
  • Keep space heaters away from foot traffic and exits.
  • Keep the heater away from children and pets.
  • Plug the heater directly into a wall outlet, never plug it into an extension cord.
  • Turn off heaters and unplug them when you leave the room or go to bed.

More Information

NFPA Portable Electric Space Heaters (PDF)

FEMA Portable Heater Fire Safety (PDF)

NFPA Heating Safety (PDF)