Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thoughts, warnings and disappointments in that Sunbeam space heater

. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a cold natured person. Once the temperature drops below seventy degrees I'm looking for long sleeves and heaters. We heat the house with wood. Unfortunately, the heat from that wood stove does not always flow well through the entire house. Especially to this room full of windows. When I am in this room I have a space heater that I use to keep warm. For years I have used a small electric heater that had belonged to my grandmother. How long she owned it before I got it I do not know, but I've owned it for nearly twenty years.

My son has watched me use that heater, has watched the cats as they stretch out in front of that same heater and laughed. He very rarely gets cold but has given up on making comments on how I do. (Even his dad has about quit making comments) He helps keep wood split and in the house or at least within reach. Recently he went one step farther, he and his dad gave me a new spacer heater for a Christmas gift.

An upright Sunbeam that has two settings. This thing is warm, warm enough that several times I have reached over and not just turned it down, but off. The cats grew accustomed to the new heater and found their places in front of it, defending them fervently. It was rare that I had to wrap up in any sort of blanket. The old space heater found its way into storage.

However-- it is important to remember these things are dangerous. It was rare that I would leave the room and leave it on. I made sure that the cats didn't manage to drag or push anything combustable close to it. It was not attached to a drop cord. Wanting to be warm, did not cause me to be stupid or careless.

Today, I was sitting here alternating between writing and watching old westerns on television. Suddenly I began to hear odd popping and crackling sounds. Turning to look I saw an odd light flickering in the heater along with the noise. Jumping up I turned off the heater, and unplugged it even quicker. It was already smoking. James - my son- came into the room about that time. He looked at me oddly, asking about the smell, when I explained to him what had happened he leaned over to examine the heater. Looking back at me he went and got the old heater and brought it back in here.

The purpose for all this- a reminder and a question. The reminder is that space heaters of any type or brand are dangerous. Never leave them alone. Do not use extension cords when ever possible. Make sure at all times there is nothing near the heater that can combust. Do not place the smaller ones where they can fall, heaters of any size that can be tipped over. Do not use near water. Think carefully, use common sense in the use of space heaters.

My question, why. Why would a space heater that is less than a month old short out? I'm back to using a twenty something year old heater. Why can we not build, manufacture things today like we did once upon a time? Why can we not build things to last? Have we become such that we build to break? Are all things temporary so that we the consumer will have to return time and again to purchase replacements? What has happened to consumer confidence? Has it gone the way of the wind and heaters that last no more than a month?


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