EXPERTS have warned people to make sure they're using electric heaters safely as millions look for cheaper ways to stay warm.
Heaters are a good solution for one room or if you only need to heat an area in short, sharp bursts.
But used incorrectly and they could pose a safety risk.
"While portable heaters can be useful to heat a small space, they can pose a real risk to your home and your life if mistakes are made when using them," said Lesley Rudd, boss of the Electrical Safety First charity.
"With the significant number of people set to turn to these appliances this winter, it’s vital we use them safely."
Here are some crucial dos and don'ts when using an electric heater.
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Keep your heater on a level surface
If your heater falls it can cause a fire, which is why it's important to keep it on a level surface.
Pick a spot that's well away from anything and not where it can easily be knocked over.
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Keep it away from things that burn easily
Combustible materials, such as paper, furniture or curtains could easily catch fire if too close to the heater.
So keep these things well away.
Don't dry clothes on your heater
It's extremely dangerous to attempt to dry clothes on an electric heater.
Never put your clothes anywhere near it.
Don't sleep with the electric heater on
It's important to keep an eye on your electric heater at all times.
So don't leave it unattended – especially when sleeping.
Don't use an extension lead
It is not advised to use an extension lead with your electric heater.
This can easily overload and increase the risk of fire even more.
Look out for damage
A damaged heater is also risky.
So look out for any damage or deterioration – and stop using it if it's not in good condition.
Buy heaters from a trusted retailer
Make sure you buy from manufacturers or retailers that you know and trust.
Avoid second-hand heaters – but if you do then ask them what safety checks are carried out.
Get it registered
You should always register your appliances.
And be on the look out for any important recalls.
Make sure your smoke alarms work
Electric heaters aside, you should always make sure you have working smoke alarms around your home.
There should be one on each floor.
Read more about heaters
How much does it cost to use an electric heater – and has it increased?
9 best electric blankets for keeping warm without the heater this winter
According to a poll of more than 3,000 people by Electrical Safety First, four in ten are either definitely using or considering using an electric heater to heat a single room in their home.
Be sure to check out our round-up of the best electric heaters.
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