The London Fire Service have raised concerns over portable heaters – such as halogen heaters – which are one of the most common alternatives people use to keep warm, particularly if they are spending a lot of time in one room and want to avoid switching on their central heating. Home workers tempted to use a portable heater should be aware of the dangers.
Fire service tips for using portable heaters safely:
- Make sure heaters are well maintained and in good working order.
- Check that your heater isn’t on a recall list – there have been many fires in the past year due to heaters that have been recalled.
- Never install, repair or service appliances unless you are a competent professional yourself. Make sure anyone who does is a registered professional.
- Don’t take risks with old heaters – if it’s sparking, wires are loose or if it’s showing signs of damage, replace it with a new one or get it tested and repaired by a qualified electrician.
- Keep heaters well away from clothes, curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes.
- Always sit at least one metre away from a heater as it could set light to your clothes or chair and cause you serious burns.
- Before attempting to move your heater, turn it off and allow it to cool first.
- Gas heater cylinders should be changed in the open air.
- If you have to change them indoors, make sure all rooms are ventilated and open the windows and doors.
- Never store cylinders in basements, under stairs or on balconies and get empty cylinders collected regularly.
- Halogen heaters can be cheap to buy, but it’s important to buy from a reputable seller as our Fire Investigators have also attended serious fires caused by non-compliant/counterfeit heaters.
- Beware if you have children or pets, in case heaters get knocked over or covered up, leading to overheating and a fire.