Winter months bring increased fire risks and electrical safety hazards. During the coldest months, consumers use additional electrical devices and appliances, like space heaters, electric blankets and portable generators.
Safeguard your loved ones and your home with these electrical safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
- Don’t overload outlets. Avoid using extension cords or multi-outlet converters for appliance connections –– they should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. If you’re relying heavily on extension cords in general, you may need additional outlets to address your needs. Contact a qualified electrician to inspect your home and add new outlets.
- Never leave space heaters unattended. Make sure heaters are placed at least three feet away from flammable items. Space heaters take a toll on your energy bills so if you’re using them, it may be time to upgrade your home heating system.
- Inspect heating pads and electric blankets. Look for dark, charred or frayed spots, and make sure the electrical cord is not damaged. Discard electric blankets that are more than 10 years old. Do not place anything on top of a heating pad or electric blanket, and never fold them when in use.
- Use portable generators safely. Since winter storms can cause prolonged power outages, many consumers will use portable generators. Never connect a standby generator into your home’s electrical system. With portable generators, plug appliances directly into the outlet provided on the generator. Start the generator first, before you plug in appliances. Run it in a well-ventilated area outside your home. The carbon monoxide it generates is deadly, so keep it away from your garage, doors, windows and vents.