Get your winter heating sorted
Have you felt the recent cold snap? Autumn is a good time to check your winter appliances. Get your electric blankets and your heaters serviced, fixed or replaced before you really need them. You’ll be glad you’ve got your winter heating sorted when the cold settles in.
If you’ve been good, you will have rolled up your electric blankets or left them somewhere flat and dry. To check whether they are good enough to use again this year, get them out of storage and lay them flat. Check if the cord, switch and plug are in good condition. Check the blanket for scorch marks, kinks or breaks in the heating element.
If the blanket looks okay, then turn it on for 15 minutes but don’t leave the room. Check for spots that are hotter. If you find hotter spots this means that the blanket is damaged and needs replacing. Electric blankets should be replaced at least every five years.
Vacuum the dust off your heaters, especially fan heaters. Check the cord and attachments and check if anything is broken. If everything looks good turn the heater on and check for strange smells or noises. If there is anything suspicious then turn it off and get it checked by an electrician.
Before winter starts get your gas heater serviced by a qualified technician. Flame-effect heaters and LPG cabinet heaters should be serviced annually and other types of space heaters at least every two years. You can check for leaks from your cabinet heater by spreading soapy water on the connection and turning on the cylinder valves. If bubbles appear then the heater is leaking. Never put a leaking cylinder or gas appliance in your car.
When using gas appliances make sure that there is good air flow and fresh air circulating. And watch out for:
- a smell of gas, from the appliance or anywhere in the house
- difficulty in establishing a flame or unusual delays in flame ignition
- an unpleasant smell similar to car exhaust
- feeling faint or dizzy while an appliance is operating
- blockage or corrosion around burner ports
- any change in the position of artificial logs or the burner bed of a heater
- soot deposits in or around the appliance.
If you notice anything suspicious, turn the heater off and let fresh air into the room. Have the gas heater assessed and serviced by a gasfitter or a qualified service technician as soon as possible.
Using gas and electric heaters
- keep a clear space of at least one metre from the heater
- stay one metre away and don’t place heaters near walls, curtains or furniture
- don’t use a heater as a clothes dryer, unless it is specifically designed to do that
- unplug the heater when you aren’t using it so that it can’t be accidentally turned on
- use a fire guard if you have small children
- don’t use LPG cabinet heaters when there are unsupervised children or infirm persons around.