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Winter Electrical Safety

Nov 14, 2016

With the onset of winter weather, it’s time to make sure your home is electrically safe for the upcoming months. Do you tend to use a space heater or electric blanket during the winter months to keep warm? Keep reading to learn the best ways to use these products in the safest ways possible.

Portable Space Heaters

If you plan on using a portable space heater, make sure it is positioned safely on the floor, somewhere it can’t be easily tipped over and is dry. Before you begin using the heater, inspect its components to ensure it is in working condition and does not need to be repaired. Rather than plugging the heater into an extension cord, space heaters should be plugged directly into an outlet and should fit correctly. If the plug can be moved or wiggled in the outlet, it is more likely to overheat and potentially cause an electrical fire. In addition, flammable materials should be kept at a safe distance from the space heater at all times. This includes making sure the cord does not run under carpeting or any nearby rugs.

Don’t forget to leave plenty of space between the space heater and individuals in your home. Portable space heaters should always be used with adult supervision around children and pets, and should always be turned off when not in use.

Electric Blankets & Heating Pads

Just like with a portable space heater, be sure to inspect an electric blanket and heating pad before use to ensure it is in good working condition. Remember, an electric blanket should not be covered by other blankets or sat on when in use. Similarly, a heating pad should not be turned on until you are ready to use it. Allowing an electric blanket or heating pad to “warm up” before use could cause these products to overheat and potentially cause an electrical fire.  

“You should also never leave an electrical blanket or heating pad on after leaving your home,” says Tim Koehler from Koehler Electric. “Leaving these items on when not home only further increases your risk for electrical fire.”

More Safety Tips

Keep flashlights, batteries as well as any other emergency supplies on hand during the winter months in case of a power outage. In general, flashlights are much safer than using candles during a power outage and less likely to start a fire. If your home’s power does go out, be sure to turn off all electronics and appliances, leaving on one or two lights to alert you when the power comes back on.

Unfortunately, the winter months also have the highest risk for carbon monoxide poisoning as your furnace can give off carbon monoxide when it is malfunctioning. A carbon monoxide leak is virtually undetectable without a CO alarm. To ensure your home is free of carbon monoxide, regularly check your CO alarm to make sure it is working properly. In addition, smoke alarms, furnaces, and chimneys should be inspected on a regular basis as well.  

As always, LightingtheQCA.com is here to help make your home more electrically safe and sound. Visit LightingtheQCA.com to find a licensed contractor or electrician and let us help improve the safety of your home during the winter months.

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Kent Pilcher

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