Keep your home and loved ones safe this season by following these important winter electrical safety tips:
- Use space heaters safely. Keep them a minimum of three feet from furniture, bedspreads, drapes or clothes and never leave them unattended when they’re on. Don’t use an extension cord with your space heaters and always unplug the heaters when they’re not in use. Keep space heaters away from wet or damp areas, and never touch a heater when your body is wet. Regularly vacuum the back of your space heaters and any filters to remove any dust build-up, which can become a fire hazard.
- Use caution with electric blankets. Never use an electric blanket while you’re sleeping. Make sure the plug and cord are in good shape; otherwise it can pose a fire hazard. Be sure to dispose of electric blankets that have worn or damaged areas.
- Be careful with your kitchen appliances. While crockpots and other slow-cooking devices get a lot of use in the winter, you should never leave them turned on when no one is home. Leaving them unattended is a major fire risk. And be sure to check electrical kitchen appliances for frayed or damaged cords and plugs before use.
- Make sure your home is equipped with functioning carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless gas that kills at high concentrations and causes serious and irreversible injuries at lower levels. Deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning increase during the winter months due to the use of common fuels like natural gas, wood and coal. Installing an inexpensive carbon monoxide detector can save your family’s life.
- Are your smoke alarms in working order? It’s important to make sure that you have an adequate number of smoke alarms throughout your home and that they are functioning properly. Simply push the test button to make sure it beeps and replace the batteries if needed.
- Don’t overload circuits or wattage. Despite the shorter, darker days of winter, don’t go above the recommended wattage for your light fixtures. Don’t overload wall outlets either, and only plug three-prong cords into three-prong outlets. Use extension cords sparingly and only for temporary purposes.
- Have your home’s electrical panel inspected by a licensed electrician. Because electric usage goes up significantly in winter, you may need an upgrade in order to meet this increased demand.
- Keep outdoor outlets closed. Check your outdoor outlets regularly to ensure that they don’t have an accumulation of ice and snow on them. Keep them cleared off and closed to avoid moisture from invading the receptacle box and causing an outage.
- Practice outdoor extension cord safety. Extension cords are often used during the winter months to power snow blowers and other equipment. If you use an extension cord, ensure that its wattage and voltage are compatible with your power equipment. Your extension cord should also be equipped with a ground fault interruption device to avoid electrical shock.
For all of your electrical concerns and questions, it’s best to contact a professional. At M.R. Electricians, our certified and experienced staff has been keeping homeowners safe all year long since for over 20 years. We’d be happy to help you and your family, too. Contact our friendly team of electrical professionals today.
About M.R. Electricians: Since 1996, M.R. Electricians has been serving the electrical needs of homeowners and businesses throughout Montgomery County, Washington, DC, Baltimore, and surrounding areas. The company also specializes in commercial fire protection, contract needs from small tenant fit outs to whole building installations, and motor controls for industrial spaces. From major renovations to the smallest of electrical jobs, the family-owned company is committed to providing high quality products, superior results, and unmatched customer service. Regarded as a leader in the electrical industry, M.R. Electricians has set the standard for excellence in the region. For more information, please visit the website at https://www.mrelectricians.us or call 301.871.0477.