Electrical Safety Precautions for Cold Winter Weather

With preparations for this year’s festivities in full swing, Christmas shopping, decorating and wrapping gifts are the forefront of everyone’s mind. At this time of year, it can be easy to forget about the electrical safety precautions needed to keep your home and family safe during the cold winter months.

When that anticipated bitter-cold front hits the UK, most of us will whip out our electric heaters and blankets and switch on the underfloor heating without giving it a second thought. To help, we’ve compiled important electrical safety precautions to keep in mind during the cold winter weather this year.

Electric blankets

One of the nation’s most treasured possessions, it is estimated that there are in the region of 10 million electric blankets in use in the UK. However, it is vital to check your blanket before use each year. Old blankets may not have an overheating protection system responsible for cutting off the power should the blanket overheat, so it’s important to check your blanket for any signs of wear and tear.

How to keep your electric blanket safe:

  • Check the plug and lead for signs of damage
  • Check the blanket itself for signs of damage such as scorch marks or frayed fabric
  • Store your blanket flat and ensure that it remains dry
  • Follow instructions on the label and check with the manufacturer if they are unclear
  • Get your electric blanket checked by a professional electrician every 3 years
  • Once turned on, check for any buzzing sounds or burning smells

Freestanding electric heaters

While freestanding electric heaters are a quick way to heat a room, safety must be a top consideration when in use. Always position your heater on an even surface with at least three feet of open space, and ensure that you do not block the heater’s air intake or outlet. Keep flammable materials away, such as bedding, curtains, fabric furnishings, and clothing, and never leave your heater unattended.

How to keep your electric heater safe:

  • Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before use
  • Check the plug and lead for signs of damage
  • Keep your heater stored in a dry place, and do not use it if it gets wet
  • Have a permanent safety guard fitted by a professional

Underfloor heating

With a good track record when it comes to safety, underfloor heating is an effective and safe way of heating a home. It is wise, however, to keep it in check and make sure that it is running efficiently. If you suspect that your underfloor heating is broken or defective, seek expert advice from a reputable electrician, and have safety checks performed every 3 years.

Smoke detectors

According to the UK Government, people are 4 times as likely to die in a fire in their home if there is no working smoke alarm. The UK Fire Service advise the following safety precautions:

  • Test your alarms once a week by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds
  • Change the battery once a year
  • Open the case and gently vacuum inside twice a year

By following these simple yet crucial guidelines, you can have the peace of mind that you and your family will be protected this winter. If you have any other electrical safety precaution tips, leave a comment below and let us know.