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Heating Devices

Heating Devices are electrical devices that supply heat for reactions or separations are commonly used in laboratories.

Electrically heated devices include hotplates, hot-tube furnaces, heating mantles, hot-air guns, air baths, oil baths, and ovens.

Before using any heating device:

  • check to see if the unit has an automatic shutoff in case of overheating;
  • note the condition of electrical cords and have them replaced as required;
  • make sure the apparatus has been maintained as required by the manufacturer;
  • make sure the device maintains a Underwriters' Laboratories (UL®) or Factory Mutual Engineering Division of Associated Factory Mutual Fire Insurance Companies (FM®) listing;
  • make sure all heating units in use without automatic shutoff have been turned off before leaving an area for any extended period of time.


  • If baths are required to be activated when not attended, they should be equipped with timers to turn them on and off at suitable hours and a thermostat to turn off power if the unit overheats.
  • Flammable or combustible solvents should never be used in a heated bath unless housed in a chemical fume hood and attended during operation.

Unattended heating devices - Operations man not run unattended without:

  • The lab supervisors review and permission
  • A fail-safe provision (e.g., a thermostat)
  • Emergency instructions and contact information for the individual most familiar with the operation posted on the outside door of the lab.
  • Laboratory lights left on. Lab Accident Unattended hotplate fire report from University of Washington.