Man sitting on sofa & warming up his hands with an electric heater

More households to turn to electric heaters this winter despite safety concerns

Image credit: Freerlaw/Dreamstime

A new survey suggests millions more households will turn to electric heaters this winter to help cut energy costs despite concerns they could pose a safety risk.

Electrical Safety First found that 42 per cent of people will either definitely use, or are considering using, an electric heater to warm up a single room in their home because of concerns regarding the cost of central heating.

Of this group, 37 per cent said they were using an electric heater for the first time.

Some 90 per cent of those surveyed said they were concerned about the cost of heating their home this winter, up from 78 per cent this year.

A fifth (22 per cent) of those concerned about rising energy costs have bought an electric heater in the last year, 45 per cent of them from an online marketplace.

But Electrical Safety First, which is a charity, warned shoppers to buy heaters directly from reputable retailers.

“Heating your home should never come at the expense of your own safety,” said chief executive Lesley Rudd. “While portable heaters can be useful to heat a small space, they can pose a real risk to your home and your life if we make mistakes when using them.”

Rudd added that with the significant number of people set to turn to these appliances this winter, it’s vital we use them safely.

The charity is urging people not to leave electric heaters turned on unattended for long periods or overnight, never to plug them into extension leads, never to dry clothes on them, and to keep them well away from fabrics to ensure they do not put themselves at risk of a fire.

Electrical Safety First’s advice on the safe use of electric heaters includes putting the heater on a level surface, ensuring the heater is away from combustible materials and never leaving it unattended.

Charities have found that potentially 500,000 households are no longer eligible for the government’s revised Warm Home Discount. Meanwhile, a fifth of hospitality businesses across the UK are now choosing to close early rather than keep the lights on for longer, to cut costs.

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