It seems like every year we see the same news stories warning us about the dangers of holiday lights. While it is true that Christmas tree lights and houses draped with extra lighting can be electrical hazards — they do add to your home’s electrical load considerably — those are not the only electrical dangers during winter. Here are some other things you should know about to keep your home safe in the winter months.
Space Heaters Can Be Extremely Hazardous
It can be tempting to use a space heater in the home for a little extra heat in a particular room, but they have to be used properly. Space heaters actually account for about 15 percent of all winter house fires in America each year. Some tips for using a space heater:
- Give the heater 3 feet of clearance in every direction.
- Never plug a space heater into an extension cord. Extension cords can overheat when a space heater is plugged into them.
- Don’t put the space heater’s cord under a rug, because the cord can overheat or if it becomes frayed, it can cause sparking.
- Don’t leave the heater unattended and unplug it when it’s not in use.
- Be sure to place the heater on a flat and level surface.
Monitor Usage of Your Electrical Outlets
The rule of thumb with electrical outlets is that you should only have one high-wattage appliance on an outlet. The tendency with additional holiday lights is that people want to plug the lights into the most convenient outlet. But that might not be the safest option! Overloading an outlet can lead to a tripped breaker or worse, an electrical spark.
Know Where Your Breaker is and How to Use It
Every adult in the home should know where the home’s circuit breaker is and how to use it. Sometimes a winter storm can trip the breaker, so you should have easy access to it and know how to reset it if necessary.
Get Your Home Heating System Serviced before Winter
If your home uses a furnace or central heating system, try to have them serviced before winter fully sets in, and you start using the system heavily. Clear the vents and clear out any dust or debris around the system. If it’s been a while since your heating system was serviced, give us a call to come and service it. Having your heating system serviced before it breaks down is always a better option than waiting for it to fail in winter.
Those are just a few of the extra electrical hazards that are present in your home during the winter months. If you do have any questions or need assistance, give us a call at Reed Electric, Heating & Air. Servicing Paducah, KY, Metropolis, IL and surrounding areas.