Heating your home

When temperatures drop and we head towards winter, it’s important to know how to safely heat your home. Find out how you can keep safe and warm during cold weather.

Keeping warm

There are lots of different ways that you can keep warm when it’s getting cooler outside. It’s important to take note of safety measures for each method, and consider if you’re using the best method of heating for your needs.  

A good rule of thumb is to remember to heat the body, not the home. This means using things to keep yourself warm first instead of trying to heat entire rooms. For example, you might put on a jumper or pair of socks instead of turning up the heating. If you’re concerned about keeping warm and well, you can access advice from the NHS.

  • Keep heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes. 
  • Always unplug electric heaters when you go out or go to bed. 
  • Try to secure heaters against a wall to stop them from falling over. 
  • Only use gas or paraffin heaters in well-ventilated areas. Heaters consume oxygen so you could suffocate if a room is not properly aired. 
  • Be careful when using open fires to keep warm. Make sure you always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks and hot embers. 
  • Make sure embers are under control and properly put out before you go to bed. 
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained. 
  • Don’t use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to light your fire. 
  • Don’t burn paper or rubbish. 
  • Do not overload the fire with fuel. 
  • Go into the loft occasionally when the fire is alight to check for smoke from cracks, defective brickwork or mortar joints. 
  • Never dry clothing in front of a fire.  
  • Keep children and pets well away from fireplaces.  
  • Check your electric blanket for wear and tear and if it is worn, replace it before use get it serviced at least once a year. 
  • Find out more about electric blanket safety.
  • Avoid overheating wheat bags in the microwave by following the instruction on the packaging exactly.    
  • Before grabbing it out of the microwave after heating, check it’s not too hot first. 
  • If you do accidentally burn yourself, follow our cool, call, cover advice. 
  • Beware that if overheated in the microwave they could catch fire. 
  • Before using a hot water bottle, check it thoroughly for damage.  
  • Don’t overfill hot water bottles and ensure all air is out of the bottle, screwing the lid on tightly.  
  • Always use a hot water bottle cover to prevent burns. 
  • Never use one at the same time as an electric blanket – water and electricity don’t mix. 
  • If you do accidentally burn yourself, keep the burn cool, call 999 in an emergency or 111 for advice and keep it covered. 

Check if your home is fire safe

For free advice unique to you and your home, complete the online Home Fire Safety Check.

Page last updated