According to NSW Fire & Rescue, 40% of home fires are caused by electrical appliances and faults. During winter, this number increases due to the use of heaters.
Heaters make the cold weather more bearable by keeping the inside of your home warm and cozy. There are different types of heaters Australians can use, but electric heaters are more popular because they are portable, more convenient, and easy to use.
However, home heating is one of the major causes of house fires in the winter months. Every year, accidental home fires lead to extensive property loss and damage.
Thousands of residential fires and hundreds of deaths are caused by heaters every year. Electric heaters, for instance, are high-wattage appliances that can ignite nearby combustible materials, including curtains, paper, beds, sofas, clothing, blankets, and flammable liquids. If the heater was left turned on and unattended, an ignition could cause a major fire.
Whether it’s a radiant or convection heater, electric heaters can cause electrical shock if any of the components (cord, plug or housing) are damaged and are exposed to electrical current. This could also ignite a fire or lead to an electrical burn.
To make sure you’re comfy and safe this cold season, here are some tips when using heaters:
- Make sure that everything is kept at least one metre from the heater. Don’t place it near windows where the wind can blow the curtain towards the heater.
- Check your heaters before you use them. If you believe the product is faulty, have it checked by a qualified technician or ask for a replacement.
- Check the cords for any fraying and damage.
- Plug the heater directly into wall sockets only. Avoid using extensions because the power might fluctuate and cause a short circuit.
- Do not overload your powerboards.
- Install your heater and use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Do not leave young children and pets in rooms with open fires or working heaters.
- Make sure your flues and chimneys are regularly cleaned.
- Set up strong fire screens should be in front of open fires.
- Do not use wheat bags in bed.
- Always check your portable outdoor heaters before you use them and have them serviced or replaced if required.
- Do not use any outdoor heating or cooking appliances inside your home because this type of equipment is not suitable for indoor use.
- Have a working smoke alarm to warn you of possible fire incidents.
Heaters are a staple during the winter season, but they can be a huge fire risk if not used properly. When using any type of heater, make sure that it is not damaged and that it is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This way, you can stay warm, comfortable, and safe during winter.