An Electrical Safety Checklist To Prepare For Winter
At Trigon Electrical Inc., we understand that preparing your electrical system before the onset of winter can be quite a challenge. As the cold weather can strain your electrical system due to more energy demands to keep warm, you will need to pay extra attention to prevent any disaster from occurring in your home.
As professional electrical contractors, we’ve created a handy checklist to help you maintain your electrical system for the winter with as little stress as possible. Follow our checklist on electrical safety to make sure your home is ready for the season so that you can get back to the other important things in life and have a comfortable home.
1. Evaluate your power consumption
This is a good time to look at all your appliances and review how much power they draw and whether you may be unintentionally overburdening your circuits. If the appliance is more than ten years old, it may be time for a replacement. Choosing an energy-efficient model will make the winter smoother and help reduce your bills!
2. Check for potential leaks
A common issue is having a small crack on the home’s exterior or foundation, which fills with water and freezes in the winter. Over time these cracks can widen, leading to leakage and potential flooding. If you have any wiring, or worse yet, the electrical panel is exposed to such a leak, you could have a big problem on your hands. Check for signs of rust, corrosion, or staining in areas where wiring may be exposed.
3. Critter proof your home
The onset of cold weather always leads to the unwanted situation of animals looking for shelter inside your home. This can lead to damages, including chewed wires and possible short circuits, and blown fuses.
4. Inspect all extension cords and winter decorations
Always check electrical cords and decorations for signs of damage, wear, and age before use. If any damage is noticed, it is best to replace the item. Regarding extension cords, never use multiple cords together. Because they aren’t reliable and could trip circuit breakers. Also, extension cords should not be used as a permanent installation method for any equipment. Improper use of extension cords can lead to overheating, melting, arcing, and possible sparking. If you need more outlets, hire a licensed electrician to install them as appropriately required and safely.
5. Reduce static shock by using a humidifier
Winter tends to be a low humidity season. Once you add constant home heating, this dries out the air even more. Dry air is a potential cause of static electricity, which increases the possibility of electrical fires through electric shock. To reduce this risk and simultaneously improve air quality, place a humidifier in your home, or purchase a whole-home humidifier.
6. Review safe usage of space heaters and electric blankets
Proper use and safety are essential. Always inspect for fraying, tears, and signs of wear. If the unit is five or more years old, consider a replacement for more energy-efficient models. Also, for space heaters, never run your cord under carpeting or furniture, which creates a tripping hazard. Similarly, make sure not to use an extension cord with a space heater as they can get burned out. When using electric blankets, make sure to treat these like appliances that require electricity. Do not fold your blanket when you have it turned on. If you are not sure of the item’s safety, remember, “if in doubt, throw it out!”
7. Check that your service panel is up to date
If your home is more than twenty years old and using more power than your service panel is designed for, you will quickly notice signs of an overburdened system such as flickering lights, frequently tripped breakers, discolored outlets, and smoking or burning at the outlets, or main electrical system. Experiencing any of these factors may indicate it is time for a service upgrade.
8. Check all outlets and switches
Improperly operating or unusually warm outlets or switches may indicate an unsafe wiring condition exists. Something as simple as a loose connection or a loose screw holding a wire or a worn-out switch can lead to electrical arcing, overheating, or a fire. Exposed wiring is also a shock hazard. Therefore, it is essential to check that all outlets and switches have a proper faceplate covering all wiring. Children are especially at risk near electrical outlets that are not covered with a plate.
9. Check outdoor lights and outlets
Take time to inspect that all current exterior outlets meet local building and electrical codes and are outdoor rated. Check for signs of wear or corrosion. Ensure the unit is not loose and all screws are tightened down. If the outlet is not functioning properly, it is time to have an electrician replace it. Finally, make sure each outlet is protected from the elements with a proper weather resistant in-use cover. This is vital as moisture can get into outdoor outlets and cause a malfunction, which can pose a possible shock or fire hazard.
10. Check your fire alarm system
It is important to regularly test every detector in your home to ensure that it is functioning correctly. Any detectors that do not work must be replaced. As a general rule, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have a ten-year life span, at which point they should be replaced to ensure proper function. Replace the batteries of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every year. Vacuum or clean the grille on each smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector in your home regularly. If the grille to the sensor becomes clogged with dust, dirt, or other particles, it may not accurately detect smoke or carbon monoxide.
If you have any concerns or are interested in finding out more about electrical maintenance for home safety, reach out to the electrical experts at Trigon Electrical Inc. serving across Sundridge, Huntsville, And Gravenhurst, Ontario. We are a full-service electrical company providing residential, industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) electrical services. We pride ourselves on delivering high-quality electrical results and service you can depend on.