WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Space heaters can come in handy on a chilly day, but can also be destructive when used improperly.
Wausau Fire Department Inspector Shahn Kariger says about 85 percent of home heating fires are started by space heaters.
The department suggests when using space heaters to always maintain the '3 foot rule': keep flammable objects at least three feet away from the heater.
Space heaters should also have an automatic shutoff switch so, if they tip over, the unit shuts off.
Most importantly, never leave a space heater unattended at work or at home.
"You want to make sure that if they are not in use you're shutting them off. That's a huge thing. And when your at home, you want to make to shut those off before you go to bed," said Kariger.
It is also important to remember to always plug a space heater into a dedicated outlet, as using one with a extension can cause the cord to overheat.