It’s no surprise that there is an increased potential for fire risks and electrical safety hazards in the winter. During the coldest months, consumers use additional electrical devices and appliances, like space heaters, electric blankets and possibly portable generators.
This winter, safeguard your loved ones and your home with these electrical safety tips from Electrical Safety Foundation International.
Don’t overload outlets. Overloaded outlets are a major cause of residential fires. Avoid using extension cords or multi-outlet converters for appliance connections. They should be plugged directly into a wall.
Never leave space heaters unattended. If you’re using a space heater, turn it off before leaving the room. Make sure heaters are placed at least three feet away from flammable items. Space heaters take a toll on your electric bills.
Use portable generators safely. Unfortunately, winter storms can cause prolonged power outages, which mean many member-consumers will use a portable generator to power their home. Never connect a generator into your home’s electrical system without the use of a double throw switch. Also, be sure to run it in a well-ventilated area outside your home. The carbon monoxide (CO) it generates is deadly, so keep it away from your garage, doors, windows and vents.
CO poisoning can happen any time of year. However, it is more common during the winter months. This is due to improperly functioning heating systems, unsafe heating practices and allowing vehicles to idle and “warm up” in attached garages. The exhaust can enter your home through heating and cooling ducts and other open connections. Prevention is key to avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning. Choose appliances that vent fumes to the outside whenever possible and have them properly installed and maintained according to manufacturers’ instructions. Remember, never use your gas stove/oven to heat your home, even if for a short time. Be sure your home and garage has working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.