Caution urged over plug-in heaters as energy bills soar

Electrical Safety First is urging people to be cautious when using plug-in heaters to reduce the risk of fire.

01 April 2022

An electrical safety charity is warning people not to put themselves in danger by using portable heaters inappropriately, as they look for ways to reduce the impact of surging energy bills.

Electrical Safety First said that although, in general, plug-in heaters are safe when used correctly, it is expecting to see an increase in people using them as an alternative to central heating, as households are hit by a 54% increase in Ofgem’s price cap.

It is urging people to make sure they are using heaters correctly.

Lesley Rudd, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, said: “We anticipate millions more will turn to portable plug-in heaters in order to reduce their costs by heating single rooms in their home as an alternative to central heating.

“We urge the public to be cautious when using plug-in heaters to reduce the risk of fire.

“Never leave plug-in heaters unattended and ensure they are kept away from flammable fabrics.

“We understand this is a difficult time for many and we urge people to reduce their risk by always following our safety advice.”

Here are Electrical Safety First’s tips for using portable electric heaters safely:

– Put your heater on a level surface, well away from anything or anyone that could knock it over.

– Make sure your heater is at least one metre away from combustible materials such as paper, furniture or curtains.

– Never use it to dry your clothes.

– Never leave your heater unattended while in use or while you are asleep.

– Never power a heater from an extension lead – they can be overloaded and cause fires.

– Regularly inspect your heater for damage and deterioration. If it is not in good condition, do not use it.

– Avoid second-hand heaters. Make sure you buy from manufacturers or retailers that you know and trust.

– Make sure that you register your heater with the manufacturer so that, if there is a problem, they can contact you to repair or replace. You can find out more about product registration at www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/registration.

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