Landlord and property

Top tips for safer heaters in rental properties

During the winter, sometimes it's not enough to throw on another jumper. If your tenants are planning to use additional heaters in the property, here are some useful tips you can share with them.

Gas heaters

If you’re providing a gas heater, ensure it conforms to British Standards. All gas appliances, including a gas fire or heater should be safety checked once a year and serviced regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are qualified to work safely and legally on gas appliances. Getting your gas appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer will help ensure that your tenants are safe.

Top tips for changing a gas heater cylinder
  • When changing a gas heater cylinder, try to do this in open air – or open windows and doors to increase ventilation.

  • Check that the valve on the empty cylinder is closed before disconnecting it.

  • Never turn on the valve of the new cylinder until it is securely connected to the heater.

  • Store spare cylinders upright and outside whenever possible.

  • Never store them in basements, under stairs or in cupboards containing electric meters or equipment.

Open fires and chimneys

  • If the weather outside is frightful, a lovely open fire can be delightful. Before your tenants start stoking the fire, here are a few tips on how to stay safe:

  • Have the chimney swept before lighting the first fire of winter. Don’t allow soot or ash to build up.

  • Inspect the chimney breast, particularly in the roof space. Make sure it’s sound and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.

  • Use a fireguard to keep children and pets away from a lit open fire.

Burn only recommended fuels, and avoid overloading the grate or building fires too high. Equally, let fires burn down before going to bed. Check the hearth, floor and furnishings near the fire for sparks or embers.

General home-heating safety tips

  • If in doubt, here are a few simple precautions to take if your tenants are using additional heaters:

  • Never place combustible materials, like clothes or furniture, next to a heater.

  • Heaters should stand where they can’t be knocked over, away from beds, furniture and fabrics.

  • Don’t put anything on the heater or use it to dry clothes.

  • Make sure all heaters are guarded, particularly if you have children.

  • Never try to move any portable heater while it is switched on. Always turn it off and allow it to cool first.

Read our disclaimer.

This post was contributed by Blue Watch. Blue Watch is a fire and home safety scheme, set up by the Chief Fire Officers Association, and is supported by UK fire and rescue services.