Winter is the leading season for home fires. Why, you might ask? Because our electricity use skyrockets during the winter and we are often not as careful as we should be. From supplemental heat to holiday decorations, we tend to have more electrical devices plugged in during the winter than we do in any other season. With all that extra electricity coursing through our outlets comes increased risk of blown fuses, electric shocks, or even fire. Follow these tips to keep your home and your family safe this winter.
General Safety Guidelines
- Always inspect your electrical devices for broken plugs, exposed wires, or loose connections before each use. If damaged, do not use. Broken parts can cause electric shock and/or fire.
- Ensure that the plug fits securely into the outlet. Worn outlets are prone to overheating, which can start a fire.
- Do not string cords underneath carpets or rugs. They can overheat and become a fire hazard.
- Always plug space heaters directly into the outlet, without using extension cords or power strips, which could overheat. Do not plug anything else into the same outlet as your heater.
- Be careful about where you place your heater. It should always be at least 3 feet away from anything that could burn, such as rugs or drapes. Do not use in wet or moist areas, such as the bathroom, unless specially designed for that purpose. Don’t place your heater on a surface that could catch flame, such as a carpet, table, cabinet, or other furniture.
- Never leave your space heater unattended, especially in the presence of children. Unplug before leaving the room.
Electric Blankets/Heating Pads
- Do not attempt to use both an electric blanket and a heating pad at once.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for use. Some electric blankets or heating pads should not be used on certain surfaces, such as waterbeds or sofas.
- Don’t cover an electric blanket or heating pad with anything else while in use. This could cause the device to overheat and become dangerous.
- Never fold an electric blanket while it’s turned on. You risk trapping the heat and causing it to overheat.
- After washing your electric blanket, do not use until it is completely dry.
- You should not get into bed while a heating pad is on, nor should you lie on top of an electric blanket. Either circumstance could cause the device to overheat, potentially burning your skin or starting a fire.
For a home electrical safety inspection, contact a Bonfe electrician today.