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Top Tips for Safely Using Portable Heaters at Home

Top Tips for Safely Using Portable Heaters at Home

  2022-09-05         sparksdirect         Product News » Heating News,   Safety » Electrical Safety

As energy bills are predicted to rise even more, you may be worried about how will you heat your home during the winter.

One way to heat your room or office is by using portable heaters; they are a convenient alternative to central heating, especially when you need heat in one or two rooms.

Why not heat up only the space you use and live in, instead of heating up the whole house? Here's where portable heaters come in.

They are very popular and quite handy when the chilly months of the year are upon us. However, it is best to use the portable heaters safely, as outlined both by Dimplex here and by Electrical Safety First here

The Three Types of Portable Heaters

Classic 2kW Convector Heater with 3 Power Settings and Thermostat, Scirocco (Floor Standing) at Sparks

You may have seen or used a portable heater at home or in your office to warm up the room or the space you are in. There are three main types of portable heaters in the UK:

  1. Fan Heaters: these are electric heaters that have a fan incorporated, which pushes out warm air once plugged in and turned on. They are quite convenient when you need heat right now, but many of them don't have a heating element that keeps them warm after they are turned off. Here are some of the fan heaters we sell.

  2. Oil-filled Radiators: as the name suggests, these are panel heaters that are filled with oil and offer radiant heating once turned on. The oil inside makes them warm and keeps them a while longer when they are turned off. Take look at the oil-filled heaters available at Sparks.

  3. Halogen Heaters/Infrared heaters: These kinds of heaters offer heat or warmth by radiating infrared light. These heaters use halogen elements enclosed in lamps or bulbs, which directly heat the object when the light reaches it. They don't technically heat the air in the room but rather the object which needs to be heated up. At Sparks, we mainly sell infrared heaters for warehouses or large rooms. 

How to Safely Use Portable Heaters at Home

Riviera 2kW Oil-Filled Radiator with 3 Heat Settings, Timer, and Thermostat Control, Portable Heater at Sparks

Many of the fires caused by portable heaters are because of some basic mistakes which, once identified, eliminate the risk of fire.

For example, if a heater is placed in a place where people walk by, it is easy to be knocked down and start a fire.

Or if you hang the laundry above or near the portable heater, it can be easy for it to catch fire.

Furthermore, when portable heaters are too close to little children or elderly ones, it is easy for them to get burned.

Here are some of the top tips on safely using portable heaters at home:

  1. Always ensure to position your portable heater on a level surface, not uneven, and well away from anything that could knock it over. If the surface is uneven, it is easy for the heater to fall. If the heater is on a path of those around, it can be knocked over.

  2. The portable heaters need to be at least 1m away from combustible materials and textiles. Make sure things such as papers, furniture, curtains, and even laundry are at least 1m away from the heater. Yes, the laundry may seem to dry faster when closer to the heater, but the risks outweigh the benefits.

  3. Turn off the portable heater when not in use or at night. Never leave the heater unattended or ON, especially while you are asleep. It may sound simple, but it is easy to turn on the heater and feel so warm that you fall asleep and forget about it, and it is quite dangerous to have the heater on at night.

  4. Do not power your portable heater from an extension lead. The wattage of the heater will always exceed the rating of the power lead, and adding extra electrical items in that extension multiplies the risk. Plug the heater directly into the wall-mounted socket.

  5. Inspect your heater regularly and don't use second-hand heaters. Sometimes there may be a burnt smell once the heater is on due to dust or other things, and in such cases, the heater needs to be cleaned before use. Also, it is not safe to use second-hand heaters.

  6. Regularly inspect the heaters for damage, deterioration, or dirt. If the heater has a loose cable or part, do not use it. If it is not in a good condition, it's safest not to use it.

  7. Do not dry your laundry over the heater. Yes, it is convenient to have the laundry rack close to the heater or even above it, but it is not safe at all. Make sure there are no textiles within 1m of the portable heater.

  8. Buy your new portable heater made by known manufacturers and from recognised retailers, and ensure to choose a product that has a BEAB mark. At Sparks, we have a wide range of excellent portable heaters.

To be extra safe, it is recommended to register the new portable heater you have purchased. And to be even safer, you can check the Product Recall Checker to see whether the portable heater or any other electrical items have been recalled.