There are many different way to heat your home, gas heaters, electric heaters, open fires and multi fuel stoves, whichever way you chose to heat your home make sure you do so safely and follow our advice.

Portable heaters

Many people will be using devices that may not have been used for several years or they’ve had stored away for emergencies.


  • 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.
  • Plug electric heaters into a wall socket not an extension lead - they can easily be overloaded and cause fires.
  • Only use a heater in rooms they are designed to be used in.
  • Standard portable heaters (gas and electric) must not be used in shower or bathrooms.
  • Portable gas heaters must not be used in bedrooms and should only be used in well ventilated rooms.
  • Never install, repair or service appliances yourself. Make sure anyone who does is a competent tradesperson.
  • Make sure gas, paraffin and LPG cylinders are stored safely outside the home and out of direct sunlight. They should not be stored on balconies which can be important escape route for your home and a crucial entrance to your home for firefighters.
  • Make sure you change cylinders for portable heaters in a well-ventilated place and away sources of heat and ignition.

Buying a second-hand heater


  • Avoid second-hand heaters, but if you need to buy one check it closely for damage - if in 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.

Buying a new heater


  • Make sure you buy from recognised manufacturers and retailers. This will reduce the risk of buying a counterfeit and unsafe heater.
  • Register your products with the manufacturer or on the AMDEA website. This will mean in the event of a recall or repair the manufacturer can easily get in touch with you.

Solid fuel heating


  • Never reopen and use an old fireplace without a professional doing the work. The chimney is likely to be unsafe and can lead to a fire and/or carbon monoxide leaking into your home or even your neighbour’s home.


  • Always ensure you burn the correct fuel in open fires and wood burning stoves. Burning other materials can cause toxic fumes in your home and can increase the risk of chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Always use a fireguard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers.
  • Always make sure embers are under control and properly put out before you go to bed.
  • Always keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained, they should be swept by a trained person:
    - At least once a year for smokeless fuels
    - At least twice a year for bituminous coal
    - Quarterly when in use for wood
  • Always make sure ash and embers are cold before putting them into wheelie bins.


  • You should have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms fitted and test them regularly.

How to tell if your chimney is on fire

  • A loud roaring noise.
  • Sparks and flames seen shooting from the chimney top.
  • Smoke or smells noticeable in other rooms or the loft space
  • The chimney breast of flue pipe heating up in either the same room or other rooms they pass through.

What to do if you think your chimney is on fire

  • Call the Fire Service by dialing 999.
  • Do not attempt to put out the fire with buckets of water.
  • Do not use your fire/wood burner again after you’ve had a chimney fire, until you have had the chimney inspected as the fire may have caused damage to the chimney structure or flue.

If you or someone you know is struggling to keep their home warm, then consider contacting Warm and Well if you’re in North Yorkshire or City of York Council if you live in York.

Outdoor heaters


  • Only use heaters that are designed for indoor use. 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 house, but they also produce carbon monoxide which can be fatal.

When using your heating

When using your heating, don’t sit too close to a heater – it could set fire to your clothes or chair. Check your loved ones are using their heaters safely. This is also especially important if you or family members regularly use emollient products which can make clothing and soft furnishings more flammable.

Never use heaters or open fires to dry clothes. If you need to dry clothes in the same room as a heater or open fire, ensure they are placed well away from the heat to reduce the risk of fire.

Electric blankets


  • Store electric blankets flat, rolled up or loosely folded to prevent damaging the internal wiring.
  • Unplug blankets before you get into bed unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use.
  • Never use an electric blanket if you have an air flow pressure relief mattress or use emollient creams. Ask for non-flammable alternatives instead.
  • If your blanket gets wet, don’t use it and never switch it on to dry it.
  • Do not buy second-hand electric blankets.
  • Check regularly for wear and tear and replace at least every 10 years.

Gas safety checks

Many homeowners may have avoided having their gas safety checks for boilers and appliances due to the cost. For safety reasons it is important you have a gas safety check.

Anyone who is a tenant should have an annual gas safety check for any fixed appliances. This must be done by your landlord. If your landlord is failing to provide this, you should report this to the local authority.