When the nights draw in and the weather gets colder, you may be tempted to bring out your trusty electric heater to warm up your living space or office.
Although electric heaters can be a great way of heating a room quickly, especially if you do not have central heating, they can be dangerous if misused.
The London Fire Brigade advises one in three electrical fires that result in a fatality involve an electrical heater. This means that it is essential to be aware of electric heater safety.
Here are our top tips for ensuring you stay warm and stay safe.
1. Keep your heater away from animals and children
The old adage says you should never work with children or animals… this goes for electric heaters too!
Not only can the electric heater become hot to the touch, causing burns, but children and animals could also cause the heater to fall over and set fire to the floor.
Some newer models come with safety switches, which shut the heater down if it tips over.
2. Don’t plug your heater into an extension lead
If you are using an electric heater, plug it straight into the wall socket.
Plugging it into an extension lead can not only cause it to overheat, but the trailing cables can make it easier for people to knock the heater over.
3. Don’t sit right next to your heater
On freezing days, you may want to cosy up to your electric heater, but this increases the chances of it falling onto you, or setting fire to your chair or clothes.
Stay at least one metre away to stay safe.
4. Be careful where you place your heater
Don’t place your electric heater on an uneven surface or somewhere there is a lot of flammable material. We once walked into an office where an electric heater was snugly nestled in between two piles of printer paper!
Make sure that any surfaces you place your heater on are level and flat as this reduces the risk of it toppling over.
Also, be mindful of trailing cables. You don’t want anyone to pull the cable and knock the heater over or even worse, trip and fall onto it.
5. Don’t leave your electric heater on unsupervised
If you’re leaving the room, turn your heater off. If the heater is left unsupervised and it falls over without anyone to put it back upright, it can increase the risk of fire.
If you have an electric heater in the office, remember to turn it off before you go home for the evening.
6. Don’t put things on top of your heater
Want to put your soaking hat and gloves on your electric heater to dry them off? Don’t do it.
This can cause your heater to overheat, increasing the likelihood of anything in the nearby area catching fire.
If you’re in the office, don’t use your electric heater as a shelf to rest pens, files or paper on!
7. Make sure your electric heater is well maintained
If your heater is in good working order, it is less likely to malfunction. Check your heater before you plug it in. If the cable is frayed or you can see scorch marks on the casing, don’t use it.
If you turn it on and you can smell burning or see smoke, unplug it straight away.
Registering your electric heater when you buy it means that if it needs recalling, the manufacturer can get in touch with you to arrange a refund or replacement.