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  • Writer's pictureRJA Electrical Services

Saving money while staying safe: Our guide to safety in the home during the cost of living crisis

In recent months, the cost of living has been on the minds of many. Increases in energy price caps along with a rise in National Insurance contributions have put numerous people under further financial stress.

As a result, many people are looking to save money on energy bills and reduce their spending overall. We offer some essential advice here on how to ensure that your home remains electrically safe for those looking to save some money during the cost of living crisis.

Here, we advise you on how to save money whilst keeping you and your family safe.

How to Heat your Home Safely:

With energy bills have risen significantly many people will be asking themselves: ‘How can I save on my energy bills?’.

Some people may resort to attempting to save money on their energy bills by using a plug in heater in one room, rather than heating their entire home through their central heating system.

If that is you, it is vital to take safety into account whenever using a portable heater, as it could pose a risk of fire if used incorrectly

Portable Heater Safety Tips

  • Put your heater on a level surface, well away from anything that could knock it over, such as a door or where pets are running around

  • Make sure your heater is at least one meter away from combustible materials, such as paper, furniture or curtains.

  • Never use it to dry your clothes!

  • Never leave your heater unattended whilst in use or while you are asleep

  • Never power a heater from an extension lead – they can easily be overloaded and cause fires

  • Regularly inspect your heater for damage and deterioration. If it isn’t in good condition, don’t use it!

  • Avoid buying second hand heaters. Make sure you buy from recognized manufacturers and retailers.

  • Always register a new portable heater (and your other electrical appliances) with the manufacturer. That way you can be contacted easily if a safety notice is issued or recall is required. To find out more information about registering your appliances, visit our Product Registration page.

  • Use our free online Product Recall checker to see if your portable heater or any other electrical items have been recalled.

Running Appliances at Cheaper Times:

Some energy suppliers are offering consumers ‘time of use tariffs’ meaning it may be cheaper to run appliances during specific hours. This move may encourage people to use appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers or dishwashers at a time when it is cheaper to do so, such as overnight.

Worryingly, fires that occur overnight can be more dangerous as response times may be delayed if you are sleeping. Appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers or dishwashers account for a high proportion of electrical fires in the UK, so it is crucial to mitigate the risk of a fire as much as possible.

At a time of high energy costs it is inevitable that some people will run their appliances overnight in order to reduce their energy bill. However, where it is practically possible, we advise consumers to avoid leaving appliances like washing machines, tumble dryers or dishwashers running unattended overnight.

If you are running your appliances overnight it is imperative to follow this safety advice to reduce the risk of a fire:

  • Make sure your home is fitted with working smoke alarms on every floor. Test it regularly – ideally weekly

  • Register your appliance with the manufacturer so you can be notified if there's a problem.

  • Do not overload your plug sockets as this can lead to overheating.

  • Clean all filters regularly as per the manufacturer’s instructions .

  • Check the cables and plugs of your appliances for any signs of wear and tear.

  • If you're concerned about an appliance in your home, use Electrical Safety First's online product checker to see if it has been recalled.

  • If you think there might be a problem with your appliance, unplug it and contact the retailer, manufacturer or a qualified repair technician, as appropriate.

These simple checks could save your life.

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