11.20 / Space Heaters

  1. Initiating Authority

    1. The Environmental, Health, and Safety Department serves as the initiating authority along with the Wichita State University Fire Safety Office.
  2. Purpose

    1. The purpose of this policy is to inform students and Employees of the general prohibition on the use of portable space heaters and the impact of space heaters on safety and energy management. This policy will reduce the excessive electrical load and potential safety hazards created by unregulated space heaters.
    2. Three significant issues govern the use of space heaters in campus buildings – fire safety, electrical loads, and energy efficiency.  
    3. Wichita State University has established heating and cooling season building temperature policies, set forth in University policy 11.27 HVAC Systems Standards.  These seasonal temperature settings are intended to provide comfort conditions in support of the University’s educational mission while advancing WSU’s energy-conservation goals.
    4. Residence Halls have a separate heating and cooling temperature setting for student comfort while residing in the Residence Halls. 
    5. Portable space heaters pose serious fire, safety, and electrical hazards.
    6. Portable space heaters are generally prohibited in campus buildings, including Residence Halls, because they can create system imbalances, overload building electrical circuits, and use a significant amount of energy. This environmentally responsible policy helps the University maintain sustainable practices through reduced energy consumption.
  3. Policy

    1. The use of portable space heaters is prohibited except where it is determined by Facilities Services that the building HVAC system cannot maintain the University approved temperature set point range in any given University building or a specific area within a building.
    2. Most occupants who are dressed properly for the season will be comfortable in University buildings.  However, if anyone believes the temperature of their work area is outside the set temperature points, they can request that Facilities Services review the temperature settings and test the air temperature in the effected space.
    3. Portable space heaters are prohibited in any Residence Hall room or common areas pursuant to the Housing and Residential Life Handbook unless the housing staff determines that the Residence Hall room cannot maintain the approved temperature for the Residence Hall.
  4. Definitions

    1. For the purpose of this policy only, the following definitions shall apply:
      1. Employee: An individual who provides services to the University on a regular basis in exchange for compensation and receives a W-2 for such services. This includes temporary and part-time Employees.
      2. Residence Halls: Shocker Hall, the Suites, and the Flats.
      3. University: Wichita State University and its controlled affiliate organizations.
  5. Administrative Procedure

    1. Students who believe the temperature of their Residence Hall room or any common area is outside the temperature settting points must contact Housing and Residence Life to report the temperature variance through a maintenance request.
    2. Employees that believe their work area is not within the appropriate temperature point for the season must contact Facilities Services Work Order Center through a work order request.  Employees may also call (316) 978-3444 for assistance or questions on the work order request.
      1. Facilities Services will test the temperature in any work area to determine if the temperature is within limits set for the season.
      2. Only if the temperature is outside the temperature for the season and cannot be adjusted will Facilities Services issue an approved space heater for temporary use in the work area.
        1. In order to ensure that all space heaters meet current safety guidelines, Facilities Services has approved a specific radiant heater for use. 
        2. Facilities Services will review the area and do an electrical assessment to determine the best location and appropriate plugin for the approved space heater.
        3. Unapproved department owned space heaters should be turned into Facilities Services or disposed of. 
        4. Any unapproved privately owned space heater must be removed from the University.
      3. Once an approved space heater is issued, the Employee must comply with the following safety and care instructions:
        1. The heater shall only be used in the approved area and plugged directly into the outlet approved during the electrical assessment.
        2. Never plug the heater into an extension cord, power strip or multi-plug adapter.
        3. The heater shall be turned off and unplugged when the Employee leaves their office or work space, and should never be left operating unattended.
        4. Maintain a clear radius of three feet around the heater.
        5. If the heater or the electrical cord are damaged the unit must be unplugged and removed from service immediately.
      4. If at any time the temperature in the office or work space in which an approved space heater was authorized is restored, the space heater shall no longer be authorized and shall be returned to Facilities Services.
      5. Environment Health and Safety and the University Fire Safety Office will enforce this policy.
      6. The University may take disciplinary action against Employees who demonstrate continued disregard for Fire and Life Safety codes by using unauthorized space heaters.
      7. Students who have a prohibited space heater in any Residence Hall may face student conduct proceedings.
  6. Applicable Laws and Additional Resources

    1. K.S.A 31-132 et seq., Fire Protection
    2. K.A.R. 22-1-1 et seq., Kansas Fire Prevention Code—State Fire Marshal Administrative Regulations
    3. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 11.5.3 (Portable Electric Heater)
    4. University Policy 11.27 / HVAC System Standards
    5. Housing and Residential Life Handbook, page 42 (prohibited appliances).