When people want to escape the harsh cold of winter, they typically head to places like Lakeland, Florida. While the winter months in Florida are certainly warmer than the rest of the country, there’s no denying that winter brings its own set of challenges and risks no matter where you are. Some of the biggest risks lie in electric devices and your home’s electrical system. In order to stay safe this winter, keep these electrical safety tips in mind.
Use Electric Blankets with Care
An electric blanket is great to have on those chilly days and nights when you just want to relax. However, they can also be a dangerous hazard if used improperly. Electric blankets should always be analyzed before use for any frayed or crimped wires, worn spots or burn marks. Don’t leave electric blankets on for too long or let them get too hot. Never sleep with an electric blanket on. If you really need the added warmth in bed, leave the blanket spread over your mattress and turn it on for about ten to twenty minutes right before you go to bed.
It’s a good idea to replace an electric blanket once every ten years since old wiring and wear increases the chances of a fire. Remember, even brand new electric blankets can have defects or damage. Inspect a new electric blanket closely before use.
Practice Safe Operation of Space Heaters
On those winter days and nights when it gets just a bit too frigid, a space heater can be a lifesaver. Using a space heater improperly, however, can put your life at risk.
Make sure you have enough room to safely operate your space heater. Most heaters will give recommendations for minimum room sizes for safe use on the box or in the instructions. Keep space heaters a minimum of three feet away from furniture, curtains, pet beds, animal cages, cribs, playpens, blankets and any stray items that might be on the floor like toys or laundry.
Never place a space heater or the cord in or near any source of water. This can cause a shock and fire hazard.
Only buy a space heater if it has safety devices that turn the unit off when it is tipped over or overheated. It’s important to never let the heater fall over or overheat, but accidents happen.
Don’t leave space heaters unattended or leave them on overnight. Space heaters can only be safely operated if they’re being supervised. Leaving a space heater on in an unoccupied room or while you’re sleeping is asking for trouble.
Take Tripped Breakers Seriously
Breakers will typically only trip if there is an overload of electricity running through one circuit. There are usually more electrical devices plugged in during winter, particularly ones that eat up a lot of electricity such as heaters, but a tripped breaker is still cause for concern. If a breaker is tripped, spread out any high voltage devices to different circuits. If the breakers are still tripping, this might indicate a problem with your wiring, which will require a licensed electrician to diagnose and repair.
Don’t Overload Outlets
An outlet can still be overloaded without tripping a breaker. This usually happens when multiple plugs are stacked on top of each other or when an electrical strip has a multitude of devices plugged into it. Some power strips have surge protectors that will cut off power to the strip if it is overloaded, but many others don’t have this feature. Never plug high voltage devices such as heaters or kitchen appliances into a power strip, and avoid bunching plugs up together on outlets and strips to avoid overloading the outlet and causing a fire.
Be Mindful of the Condition of Your Outlets
Any outlets that have scorch marks, rust or dark dust on them should never be used. If there is a burning smell coming from the vicinity of any outlets, call a professional electrical technician immediately.
Get Inspections, Repairs and Replacements Done by a Professional Before Winter Hits
One of the best ways that you can practice excellent electrical safety is by having a professional electrician go through your house for a thorough inspection. They can analyze your wiring, circuits, fuse boxes, outlets, appliances and more to ensure that your home is up to electrical codes and as safe as possible.
If there are any issues in your home that require addressing, they can provide professional repair and replacement services. Never attempt these repairs on your own. Even if you believe it’s within your abilities, it’s much safer to leave dangerous electrical work in the hands of a licensed electrician.
If you’re in or near the areas of Lakeland, Mulberry, Bartow or Brandon, Florida and you need any electrical repairs done on your house to make it as safe as possible before winter comes, contact D.O.C. Electric today for an estimate.