Winter puts everyone on their toes as the weather gets colder and the days shorter. One hazard often forgotten about during this time is the increased risk of electrical fires. These increase as the season progresses because most people heavily depend on the electrical system to keep warm, power holiday lights, and cook special meals.
Home electrical fires peak in December and January when space heaters, candles, and string lights’ use is at an all-time high. Here are tips to prevent an electrical fire in your home this winter:
Get a Professional Electrical System Inspection
If you live in Montgomery County, PA, rainy winters are the norm. Water and moisture are the leading causes of electrical fires and wiring damage. A professional electrical inspection will ensure that your home’s wiring is up to code and can handle the increased demand of the winter season.
They will also check the heating system, outlets, and circuits to ensure they are not overloaded. Only work with a reliable, licensed electrician in Montgomery County, PA. If you don’t live in the area, look for one near you such that you get faster services in case of an emergency or a power outage.
Use Space Heaters with Care
Space heaters are a common cause of winter house fires. A space heater causes one in every three home heating fires. If you plan on using one, take the following precautions:
- Read the instructions carefully and follow all warnings
- Keep the space heater at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire
- Plug the space heater directly into the wall outlet- do not use an extension cord
- Turn the space heater off when you leave the room or go to bed
- Do not use a space heater as the primary source of heat in your home
Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Is your home equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? These are essential in any season, especially in winter when fires are more common. Test them monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year. Check if you have enough detectors – you should have one on every level and outside each sleeping area.
Be Careful with Holiday Lights
Everyone loves decorating for the holidays, but be safe when doing so. Inspect all lights, including strings of lights, before putting them up. If the cords are frayed, or the lights are damaged, do not use them.
When putting up outdoor lights, only use ones specifically designed for outdoor use. Do not staple or nail the cords to your home – this can damage them. Finally, turn off all lights and unplug them before going to bed or leaving the house.
Use Candles with Caution
Candles are a beautiful way to add ambiance to your home but can also be very dangerous. Never leave a candle unattended, and keep them away from anything that can catch fire. Use flameless candles as an alternative to real candles. Remember to blow out all candles before going to bed or leaving the house.
Keep an Eye on Your Home’s Electrical System
Take immediate action if you notice that your home’s electrical system is overloaded. It could be caused by too many items plugged into one outlet or an overloaded circuit. Unplug some of the items and spread them out to other outlets.
Do not try to increase the amount of power by using a larger extension cord or power strip – this could cause a fire. Contact a professional electrician if you have any questions or concerns about your home’s electrical system.
Being proactive about your home’s safety this winter is the best way to prevent an electrical fire. You’ll also be prepared for emergencies, like power outages. Work with professionals to ensure that your home’s wiring handles the additional demand of the winter season. If needed, carry out an electrical panel upgrade, replace your home’s wiring, or install a standby generator.