With winter weather comes the need to keep warm, light up our homes, and power various appliances. But with increased electricity usage comes an increased risk of electric shock and fire hazards. Here are six electrical safety tips for winter to ensure that you and your family remain safe throughout this season.
1. Keep Flammables Away From Heaters
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is responsible for over 48,000 fires annually in the United States, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. To avoid a potentially catastrophic situation, it is important to keep all flammable items away from portable and stationary heaters. This includes furniture, clothing, bedding, curtains, towels, and other combustible materials.
2. Don’t Overload Outlets and Extension Cords
When temperatures drop and the holidays approach, it is common for homeowners to add extra lights and decorations. However, plugging too many electrical items into a single outlet can create an overload which could pose a serious fire hazard. Additionally, outlets should never be used with extension cords that are not rated for their purpose or are frayed or damaged in any way. Extension cords should always be plugged directly into a wall outlet, not another extension cord or power strip.
3. Install a Surge Protector
Power surges can occur spontaneously and without warning, damaging your appliances and electronics. To protect your home and equipment from power surges, you should get a whole-house surge protector. This device is installed directly on your home’s main electrical panel and will protect all of the circuits in your home from power surges.
4. Don’t Plug Heaters Into Power Strips
While power strips are a great way to save space and get the most out of your electrical outlets, they should never be used with portable heaters. This is because when too much current is drawn through them, they risk overheating and potentially causing a fire. Portable heaters should always be plugged directly into an outlet.
5. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide can be released into the air when heating appliances are used improperly or they malfunction. To protect yourself from these invisible hazards, ensure that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home are in proper working order. This includes testing the batteries regularly and replacing them when necessary.
6. Have Your Electrical System Inspected
Having your home’s electrical system inspected annually is always a good idea. This is especially important during the winter when you are likely to use more electricity than usual. A professional electrician can inspect the wiring and outlets, check for potential hazards, and make any necessary repairs or upgrades.
Don’t let the winter weather put your family and home at risk. Make sure to follow these electrical safety tips for winter, and have your home’s electrical system inspected by a professional electrician. If you are in Rochester, MN, contact Paxton Electric today to have your home’s electrical system inspected and to find out more about surge protection options.