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Winter Electrical Checklist

‘Tis the season for loads of electrical usage while the snow falls around us. Keeping your home safe during this winter season requires a bit of vigilance on your part. Many homeowners don’t check their electrical systems for problems before the snow sets in. Failure to perform a proper inspection of your home’s electricals can present a significant issue that could lead to electrical fires. The increase in power consumption during this time, combined with environmental hazards such as low temperatures and ice formation, can harm electrical systems. Here are a few pertinent places that homeowners should check on their typical winter checklist for electrical systems.

Electrical Space Heaters

These are useful devices for keeping warm, especially on bitterly cold nights and mornings. In dealing with this appliance:

  • Check the power cord for any potential discolorations, which might suggest a break in the wire.
  • Check the outlet the heater’s plugged into. It should be a direct wall socket (no extensions), which is rated for an appliance of that electrical usage.
  • Ensure that when the heater is set down, it’s away from flammable objects and out of the reach of any water.
  • NEVER leave the space heater on if you’re falling asleep. If there’s no one to monitor the heater, switch it off.

Outdoor Extension Cords

Extension cords can present hazardous wiring, but something it’s necessary to have an outdoor cable for certain outdoor appliances to remain connected. When using an outdoor electrical cord:

  • Don’t daisy-chain extension cords together. You might be tempted to connect a handful of cables to get the length you need, but that’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Make sure your extension cord is rated for the job that you have it doing.
  • Check the entire length of the cable for damaged wires, and ensure that the plug is in proper working condition. If these issues exist, change the cord immediately.

Heating Tape for Pipes

In the winter season, these tape installations are designed to stop water within your pipes from freezing. It’s a wire cable that utilizes resistance to provide heat to the water inside the house’s pipes. When using heating tape:

  • If the pipes are PVC or some other type of plastic, an automatic thermostat is necessary to ensure that the heating tape doesn’t melt the pipes.
  • Apply heating tape as a spiral. Don’t try to sheathe the pipe in heating tape; it’ll lead to complications when you have to remove it.
  • Check the insulation. If it’s frayed or cracked, replace the heating tape immediately. These situations can lead to electrical discharges and electrocution.
  • Ensure that the heating tape comes from a GFCI outlet. Since water is involved, a properly grounded GFCI outlet is recommended.

Electric Blankets

Everyone likes the comfort that these blankets provide on cold days, but ensuring they don’t become a hazard should be part of your electrical checklist. In using electric blankets:

  • Ensure the plug and cable are in proper working condition. The primary check includes examining the plug for frayed ends and the cord for discolorations.
  • The only electric blanket you should fall asleep with is a low-voltage DC blanket. AC blankets shouldn’t be used for sleeping.
  • Unfold the sheet if it’s turned on. Because of how electric blankets are constructed, holding them may lead to overheating when they’re connected.
  • Turn off the blanket when you’re not using it. Homeowners massively overlook the simple suggestion, but a connected, unmonitored sheet is a fire hazard.

Check your Electrician for More Tips

While these suggestions are the most typical scenarios, we at LiveWire know that each homeowner is unique. After years of dealing with fire hazards and home inspections, our trained professionals can immediately spot a potential problem before it gets out of hand. If you want a professional dealing with your winter checklist, consult us today! We’d be glad to send over one of our specialist crews to advise you on what you should do to keep your home and family safe during the winter season. Don’t let an electrical hazard spoil your holidays. Call us now.

 

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