Winter Electrical Safety TipsThe winter months can get quite cold here in Maryland, prompting people to pull out their “get warm and stay warm” gear. Here are a few winter electrical safety tips to keep in mind before you plug in your preferred winter items.

Space Heaters

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), space heaters cause over 65,000 home fires each year. If you plan to use a space heater, be sure you’re doing it safely and only as needed.

Never leave your space heater unattended when turned on. Be sure to keep them at least four feet from any curtains or furniture, which is how many fires start. Always plug space heaters directly into the outlet instead of using an extension cord.

Electric Blankets

Not much can beat snuggling up under a warm blanket with your beverage of choice and your favorite activity. Before you plug in your electric blanket for its first use this winter, inspect it carefully for any worn or damaged parts.

While it may be tempting, avoid keeping the electric blanket turned on when sleeping. Though new electric blankets are much safer than older versions, there is still a chance of getting burned or potential fire hazards.

Backup Generators

Whether you have a portable generator or a whole house generator, make sure it’s running smoothly and ready for operation before you need to use it. A winter storm could knock out power for days, which can cause significant issues if you aren’t adequately prepared.

For portable generators, place them as far away from home as possible and nowhere near windows or doors. Don’t put them in enclosed areas, like a carport or garage. Carbon monoxide is silent but deadly, and the risks increase drastically in winter months with improper generator use.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you don’t have at least one in your home, consider getting one. Carbon monoxide detectors can be plugged into an outlet or battery-operated. They could save the life of your family if this colorless, odorless gas gets into your home.

Make sure the detector works properly and have an extra set of batteries available if needed. Have you checked your smoke alarms recently? If not, take the time to make sure they are working, too.

Avoid Overloading Circuits

Don’t plug in more than your outlets can handle. Overloaded equipment and circuits can burn insulation, create sparks, and start fires in the home.

If you must use surge protectors, only use ones with internal circuit breakers. If the power strip becomes overloaded, the circuit will trip and cut off power rather than overheat and potentially cause a fire.

Fire Extinguishers

Have them; make sure everyone knows where they are in the home and how to work them properly. For an electrical fire, only class C extinguishers are rated to work efficiently to stop the spread.

Know When to Hire a Pro

Though it can be tempting to DIY, it’s best to hire a licensed electrician to rewire or install new projects. The professionals at Deshaies Electrical Services in Odenton, Maryland, can handle both residential and commercial rewiring and installs in compliance with the National Electrical Code.

When you hire our licensed electricians, you can rest assured your family or business is safe from potential electrical hazards. Contact us today for a free consultation.