Social media hacks
With the cost of living proving a challenge, we know that creators on social media are sharing a range of "hacks" to help you light or heat your home for as little as possible.
It's important to remember that while they may seem clever, and some may even work, there are often safety considerations that people haven't thought of.
For example, a recent TikTok trend shows candles being used with terracotta plant pots to create a small heater. A range of creators have shared different variations on this. Remember, using candles comes with its own safety concerns, and we'd recommend anyone using candles to take a look at our candle safety page. Never leave candles burning unattended.
There are also considerations around how safe pots are when balanced on feet or other surfaces, with some versions of the "hack" having multiple pots balanced together. Not only would this risk burns from anyone trying to touch or move the pots, but there's also a considerable risk of them being knocked over and causing a fire.
Another popular hack is putting tin or kitchen foil behind your radiator to deflect heat. However, not only is this quite ineffective, the tin foil can get extremely hot, making it dangerous to touch. Its effectiveness also decreases over time and is only useful for radiators in homes without cavity wall insulation and only on external walls. Most modern homes wouldn't get any benefit from this hack.
Another 'hack' recently trending is cooking steak in a toaster. Not only is this a serious fire risk, as a toaster isn't designed to cook foods like this, but there's a serious risk of undercooked meat and contamination, which is itself a health hazard. We strongly urge our communities not to try this.
We would strongly recommend anyone seeing the "hacks" on social media to think carefully about any risks involved, and where possible, check with a professional or fire safety expert such as your local fire service, before trying anything that could put you or your family at risk.