26 September 2023

Energex warns of winter heating dangers

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Energex has joined with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services in urging people to prevent winter house fires by checking their heating appliances for damage and using them safely.

Area Manager at Energex, Chris Graham said portable heaters, electric blankets and other heating appliances should be thoroughly checked for any damage they may have sustained while they were stored in the warmer months.

“Winter heating appliances are often pushed to the back of cupboards or in garages and forgotten about until winter chills set in. Before being used they should be thoroughly checked over for damage or faults,” Mr Graham said.

“When heating appliances are out of sight, they’re often out of mind as well, and these are the times they can suffer damage caused by being accidently hit or crushed or even vermin such as mice chewing through vital components.”

He said if any faults were found or if they tripped the house safety switch when turned on, they should not be used until they could either be repaired by an authorised electrical repairer or thrown away if beyond repair.

“Even perfectly good heaters can also become dangerous when they’re used in the wrong place or the wrong way,” Mr Graham said.

“One of the biggest safety risks when setting up a heater is placing it too close to flammable items such as couches, curtains or beds —I’ve even seen the devastating aftermath of people draping clothes over a heater to try and dry them quickly.”

He also urged householders to be aware of pets or children who could easily knock over an unattended portable heater.

“Electricity and water don’t mix, so using portable electric heaters in bathrooms or other wet areas where one slight knock could see the appliance fall in or become splashed by water is potentially deadly,” Mr Graham said.

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