Coming winters you may want to be prepared to keep your house cozy and heated up.

And to do that the best option is to use space heaters. Despite using central heating solutions there are areas which are infiltrated by the teeth-shattering cold.

It is for these secluded spots that you require a space heater.

Only heaters that burn a combustible fuel to create heat can cause carbon monoxide build-up in your home.

It is here that your worries regarding the electric and oil-based space heaters start to surface. Usually, individuals are perplexed by questions like do the electric heater generate carbon monoxide or CO.

What can we do in case of leakage? Is CO harmful to the human body? And various other related questions come ashore.

Is It True That An Electric Space Heater Generates Carbon Monoxide?

The answer is NO. As the electric heaters do not work with any kind of fuel, so it is not possible to exhume any gas.

You must know that when we pass electricity through a coil, it produces heat.

This is the main property of all the electric heaters. Either there are coils in electric heaters or there are ceramic blocks which radiate heat after being heated up.

CO is produced when gas is burned with fuel but it is not the case with electric heaters so no need to worry.

In other words, the electric heaters work with the simple mechanism of physics.

There is no burning of oil which accompanies exhalation of not only the dreaded carbon monoxide but a lot many other harmful gases.

So, it is my advice to only use electric space heaters for the areas where your universal heating vents and conduits cannot supply the warm and cozy air.

Safety Of  Your Electric Space Heater

Now let’s come to the other kinds of heaters which don’t use electricity to function.

This is yet another important link in understanding does an electric space heater emit the deadly carbon monoxide.

Most people choose the oil run space heaters because of their lower operational cost.

Most CO exposures happen in the winter in cold climates. The very common source of CO poisoning is unvented space heaters in the home

It is true that these oil or gas-based space heaters require less amount of electricity to heat the room and in turn, will not add much to your electricity bill.

But when it comes to safety consideration of these heaters, you probably would want to think it over.

The reason being that the oil heaters contain diathermic oil which is present in the fins.

When heated the oil radiates which generates heat consequently warming up the room.

But do you know what else these oil heaters exhume? It is an unwanted gas Carbon Monoxide which is also known as “the Silent Killer”.

The reason CO is referred to as a silent killer is that it does not have any odor, smell, visual identity, and color.

You cannot tell just by looking or smelling that CO is being accumulated inside the room. Constant accumulation of this compound in the room is tantamount to the presence of high levels of CO inside an enclosed space.

This is what can happen when there are higher levels of CO inside the room:

  • You may start to feel dizzy and the next thing is that you are lying on the floor in a sub-conscious state.
  • Remaining in this condition for a greater amount of time will mean that your body is giving up to CO and eventually succumb to the lack of oxygen.
  • If you are scared then you should be, these gas heaters are the worst remedy to cold.

Space Heaters That Generate Carbon Monoxide

Now that we have got your attention, here are some other heating equipment which are responsible for giving out CO.

Before that, we need to understand how is this CO produced initially. The production of carbon monoxide inside the space heaters is due to inefficient burning of the fuel.

When we burn carbon and oxygen, the result normally is CO2 (Carbon Dioxide). But when this Carbon does not burn properly due to the lack of oxygen, the result is CO.

Now you can well imagine that inside a closed room, there is a limited amount of oxygen.

Your heater will use this oxygen to burn the oil and release CO2. In the instance of lower levels of oxygen, the fuel will not burn completely giving birth to CO.

  • Propane and natural gas-based heaters.
  • Heaters which use Kerosene
  • Wood-based stoves (burning wood also leads to Carbon Monoxide production)
  • Also, there are the fireplaces, which may look exquisite but are not good for your house.
  • You can also consider the gas grills, gas ovens, and all the appliances which use any kind of natural gas or oil to heat up. They can emit CO as a result of the burning process.

Here arises a question, that what about the houses which have gas heaters and furnaces already installed.

Well, the important thing in oil and gas heaters that they require appropriate ventilation. If there is enough supply of oxygen reaching the furnace or the heater, then there are chances of CO being produced.

Do I Need A Smoke Detector?

The fact is, installing a CO detector will only help you identify the levels of CO inside the room.

It will also indicate when to take necessary steps and control the levels of CO if they are building up. When the levels of CO are too high inside the room, the alarm will go off just like a smoke alarm does.

Carbon monoxide has a half-life in a human body of about 5 hours. This means that if you are breathing fresh, carbon monoxide-free air, it will take five hours to get half the carbon monoxide out of your system.

This will give you time to either open up all the windows and allow for ventilation inside the room. Or you will get enough time to move outside the house to get some fresh air.

Carbon Monoxide is also highly flammable, so it is best to warn the fire services when your alarm goes off.

Any appliance that uses wood, fuel, propane, kerosene, or natural gas for heating will emit CO.

So, it is advised that you keep a Carbon Monoxide detector inside the house. An electric space heater does not generate carbon monoxide, ergo, it is not necessary to install a detector for it.

Why Is Carbon Monoxide Poisonous?

The reason why CO is fatal for a human being is that CO can bind with hemoglobin which is present in the bloodstream.

And unlike oxygen which easily detaches from hemoglobin, Carbon Monoxide does not release easily from it.

When CO attaches itself to our bloodstream, it will take up the space that is there for oxygen molecules.

And this is why the first symptom of the presence of CO in the body is:

  • Dizziness or drowsiness: the brain will not get enough oxygen thus leading to fainting and going unconscious. Lying in this state for a prolonged time without any care will lead to death.
  • Headache: is yet another symptom associated with exposure to CO.
  • Body weakness: this is due to the want of oxygen-rich blood in the body.
  • There have been cases where people have also experience incidence of heart conditions due to CO exposure.
  • A lot more conditions like chest pain, shortness of breath, vomiting, nausea and memory issues are related to this.

When it comes to Carbon Dioxide, you need not to worry about it. The regulated levels of Carbon Dioxide in a building or workplace suggest that it is not at all harmful for us.

Moreover, the cases of CO2 are not seen in common parlance, they are very rare and are specific to some pre-defined health conditions.

Carbon Dioxide as gas is also used in fire extinguishers because it has properties which can diffuse the fire by taking out oxygen.

Precautions For Using Space Heaters

Even if your favorite space heater is operated by gas or have an electric source, it can still cause fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association of the US, space heaters are responsible for 43% of house fires.

Now, the most probable reason for the inducement of these fires is the wrong placement of the heaters.

Placing the heaters near to a piece of cloth like a curtain, table cloth or bed sheets, or even furniture will tantamount to catching fire.

So here are a few points which you should keep in mind during space heaters installation:

  • Never let your kids or pets roam free around all kinds of heaters. The kids’ clothes can catch fire due to prolonged exposure to heat.
  • When the heater is turned on, make sure that at least one person is always there to keep an eye on it.
  • There are many combustible items laying around in your house and even a workplace. There has to a minimum of a 3-foot gap between the heater and other combustible items.
  • Short-circuiting is yet another reason for these heaters leading to a house fire. So, always plug in the space heater to a direct power source. Using extension cords are a lot less safe.
  • Always assure that there is no water lying around the heater. Yet another reason for short-circuiting.
  • The ground beneath your heater has to be sturdy and plain. It should not tilt to one side or even dwindle with a little accidental push.

Also when you go buy a space heater, prefer the ones which have a broad base and wider. The heaters which are erect and have a narrow base are not very safe and effective.

Suggest A Space Heater

There are two aspects to this, one is with the oil heaters. These heaters as you must know by now are risky and invite a lot of suspicion regarding long term usage.

Regardless, if you have to use these kinds of heaters which also exhume Carbon Monoxide.

Make sure that there is enough ventilation in the room, also your space heater should work with enough room so that it can radiate heat with any obstruction.

In this scenario, the ceramic heaters powered by electricity are a good choice for a house with kids and pets.

These ceramic heaters have an enclosed plastic casing which protects you from accidental touch and burns.

Always keep the space heater away from a child’s reach and implement the instructions given above.

What Is The Difference Between CO And CO2 ?

Both of these gases have a thin line difference in terms of their chemical nature.

But, one is fatal and the other is a common gas. Carbon Monoxide has 1 Carbon and 1 Oxygen molecule. And Carbon Dioxide has 1 Carbon and 2 Oxygen molecules.


So here it is a full-fledged account on electric & oil based heaters. Now that you know the answer to your question does my electric space heater produce (CO) Carbon Monoxide? It will be easy to make an informed choice after knowing all the tiny details.

You can choose from different kinds of oil based, electric baseboard, or even a propane powered heater and get ready to tackle this winter with style.

We have heaters which are fitted with various safety factors. For instance, the oil or gas run space heaters have a system, it will turn the heater off automatically when there is an excessive amount of heat.

Also, the cords have a fuse, which if it gets heated will break and cut off the power supply saving you from a short circuit or a fire.