Now the nights are drawing in and the weather is getting 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, so it is essential to be aware of the dangers.
Here are our top tips for ensuring you stay warm, and stay safe too.
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 on the floor and set fire to the carpet.
Some newer models come with safety switches, which shut the heater down if it tips over.
2. Don’t plug it 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 cause it to overheat.
3. Don’t sit right next to it
On freezing days, you may want to cosy up to your 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.
4. Be careful where you place it
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!
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 it on unsupervised
If you’re leaving the room, turn your heater off. If the heater is left unsupervised and it topples over without anyone to put it back upright, it can increase the risk of fire.
If you have a heater in the office, remember to turn it off before you go home for the evening.
6. Don’t put things on top of it
Want to put your soaking hat and gloves on the 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 heater as a shelf to rest pens, files or paper on!
7. Make sure your heater is 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, do not use it.
If you turn it on and you can smell burning or see smoke, unplug it straight away.
If you are office-based and have your electrical equipment tested, get any heaters checked at the same time for added peace of mind.
Need to get your heater tested? We’re here to help
Here at Hawkesworth, we carry out electrical equipment testing (also known as PAT testing) for offices, shops, schools and care homes.
We provide competitive rates and have a network of engineers located across the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands.
Want to find out more about how we can keep you safe and compliant? Contact us today for your free, no-obligation quote.