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How to stay safe while you heat your home

Winters in Ireland can be pretty harsh, and scaremongers every year threaten that this will be the year when there’ll be widespread snow, traffic chaos, total shut down (you’ve all heard them at some point). While we hope this isn’t true, there’s a certain sense in being prepared. So with that in mind, here’s our quick guide on how to stay safe while you heat your home this winter. These safety tips to heat your home safely will help make sure you stay warm this season, and that you enjoy it without putting yourself, your home and your family at risk.

  • A cold home can impact on your health, in some cases it can even trigger pneumonia in the elderly or infirm, so stay safe by heating your home to the correct temperature. The living room should be between 18-21oC and the rest of the house should be at least 16o At night, your bedroom temperature should be slightly warmer, around 18oC, to keep you safely warm at night.
  • If you use an electric blanket in bed, make sure to read the instructions to check if it is safe to use all night long or if it should be turned off before you get into bed. Never use an electric blanket with a hot water bottle – you could end up electrocuting yourself. If you’re using just a hot water bottle to stay snug at night, don’t fill it with boiling water as if it bursts or leaks you could be seriously burnt.
  • Get your chimney cleaned once a year by a professional to remove soot and any other debris that might have built up. It’s important to keep this vent clear so that you can let emissions and smoke escape.
  • If you have an open fire, always use a fire guard to keep any embers or sparks from flying out and accidentally igniting other materials close by.
  • If you use a portable space heater always use the correct type of fuel for it as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, and never leave it on if you’re not in the room or while you’re sleeping.
  • Don’t block your heaters with furniture or dry clothes in front of them. This also defeats the purpose of them as they need at least 3 feet around them clear in order to circulate the warm air.
  • Stay safe while you heat your home with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms that are tested weekly and have the batteries replaced regularly.
  • Staying safe and warm this winter isn’t just down to your choice of home heating however, as you need to warm up from the inside too by eating well. This time of year is ideal for making soups and stews which don’t have to cost a lot and are a great way to keep yourself warm. If you’re worried about extreme weather conditions affecting your ability to cook, why not invest in a backup option like a portable gas cooker (which you can buy in most camping or outdoor supplies shops).