Keeping Warm

Living in a cold home is not just uncomfortable, it can be quite hazardous too. Making sure your home stays at a temperature of around 18°C can help prevent health problems. That said, there are many reasons that someone may find themselves struggling to keep warm over winter.

Whether its paying the bills, broken equipment, complicated heating equipment, poor insulation or property in a poor state of repair or perhaps even a misconception that being cold is good for you.

Heating your home is an absolute necessity and staying warm – particularly during the winter months – is vital for your health.

Heaters of all kinds come with their own set of risks. This page features lots of advice to help you heat your home safely.

  • Portable heaters shouldn’t be used for drying clothes.

  • Check cables are in good condition. If they are frayed or damaged, don’t use them.

  • Switch heaters off if you are going to leave them unattended.

  • Keep portable heaters one metre away from furniture and other flammable items.

Alternative heater advice and tips

Keeping warm is key during the winter months but we want you to stay safe too. Here are some top safety tips when it comes to alternative ways of heating your home.

  • Candles should be secured in proper holders, away from materials that can catch fire. Never leave lit candles unattended.

  • Rooms with gas heaters and fires should be well ventilated. Appliances should be maintained regularly. Consider having a carbon monoxide alarm installed too.

  • Use fire guards to prevent embers igniting nearby combustibles. Keep the chimney swept regularly and don’t sit or stand too close.

  • Only use heaters that are in good working order and keep them a safe distance from combustible materials.

  • Wheat Bags – Check the manufacturers instructions and your microwave settings carefully as wheat bags can easily overheat.

Using portable heaters safely

Central heating is very effective at heating homes but not everyone has it or can afford to use it regularly. With the rising cost of living, we are seeing many people in Lancashire use alternative methods to keep warm. This often includes portable heaters of various kinds.

Here are some safety tips which are relevant to all types of portable heater:

  • Check the heater’s plug and wires (if it has them) – don’t use it if they are frayed or damaged.

  • Have your heater checked and maintained each year by a professional or competent person.

  • Never use them to dry clothes directly – flammable materials too close to the heating element can cause a fire.

  • Keep them on a stable surface well away from flammable materials like rugs and curtains.

  • Supervise children and pets around them to prevent burns and other injuries.

  • Remember to turn them off if you leave the room.

  • If you must move a heater, turn it off and let it cool first.

  • Make sure you have working smoke detectors fitted on each floor of your home.

Halogen heaters

A halogen type heater can be very handy for quickly heating a small space. They are very popular because they’re readily available and fairly cheap to run.

The way halogen heaters work, they have intense directional power and can quickly set alight to items that are too close. This also includes burning people who might be positioned too close to the heater.

When using a halogen-type heater, keep it well away from furniture or people.

Fan heaters

A fan heater will heat air using a coil, which is then directed around the room by the fan. Similar to halogen heaters, many people use these to heat a small space.

Take care not to drop small items into these heaters, as they can land on the heating coil and potentially set on fire. It’s especially important to supervise animals and children around fan heaters for this reason.

Just like halogen heaters, keep fan heaters well away from flammable materials.

The Priority Services Register

The Priority Services Register provides help to vulnerable customers when they need it most. It is a joint register that allows the utility companies to keep track of those who need support so that they can provide services and advice during times of uncertainty.

For further details on the three main utilities Priority Services Register see below:

Alternatively your own utilities service provider may have information on their own website about what support you can get to help you stay safe, warm and well over winter.

If you’d like to learn more about keeping warm and safe during the cost of living crisis, please read our cost of living advice.