I’m considering changing how I heat my premises to save money due to rising energy bills – what do I need to be aware of to protect my premises?



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Businesses, especially small to medium-sized ones, may avoid using central heating and look to use portable heaters and small open fires in the spaces they use. Portable heaters are not restricted to electric heaters and can present additional risks so must be considered.

Portable heaters 

  • People may use devices that have not been used for several years or have had stored away for emergencies, such as when central heating has needed repair. Check that your heater is not subject to a product recall or repair
  • heaters must not be placed where they will block an escape route or have the potential risk to cause a fire, e.g. under desks, or congested spaces
  • plug electric heaters into a wall socket, not an extension lead, as they can easily be overloaded and cause fires. They must only be moved when they have been switched off and have cooled down
  • only use a heater in rooms they are designed to be used in. Standard portable heaters (gas and electric) must not be used in showers or bathrooms. Portable gas heaters must not be used in rooms used for sleeping and should only be used in well-ventilated rooms
  • never install, repair, or service appliances yourself. Make sure anyone who does so is registered with the Gas Safe Register (for gas appliances), the Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme (HETAS) (for solid fuel appliances), or the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) (for oil appliances), or a qualified electrician for electric heaters
  • make sure gas, paraffin, and LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) cylinders are stored safely outside in a secure location and out of direct sunlight. Make sure you change cylinders for portable heaters in a well-ventilated place and away from sources of heat and ignition
  • secondhand heaters should be avoided. If you need to buy one, however, check it closely for damage and, if in any doubt, avoid it. Make sure it is made by a manufacturer you recognise and if the seller cannot provide the instruction manual look online and download a copy. This will ensure you know how to use the heater correctly and can reduce the risk of fire.

Outdoor heaters

Outdoor heaters must not be used indoors. They can produce a lot of heat which would be a fire risk in the confined space of a premises, but they also produce carbon monoxide which can be fatal.

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