Electrical Tips To Keep Your House Safe This Winter
As the cold weather sets in on the Gold Coast, pay attention to how you use your heating electrical appliances. Implementing simple electrical safety measures will keep you, your loved ones and your house safe this winter.
Improper use of electrical equipment can cause shocks, fire and injury. The incidence of household fires in Australia increases by 23% during winter – the primary cause being electrical fires from electric blankets and heaters. Heating from an air conditioner is the safest way to warm your house.
Here are several ways to safeguard your family against winter electrical hazards.
Check Electrical Appliances before First Use
As you unpack your winter appliances, check them to make sure they’re in good working order. Clean all electrical appliances and equipment before first use.
Dust can smoke, ignite or cause appliances to overheat. Check the labels to make sure each appliance is listed by a certified electrical testing laboratory such as UL, Austest or Comtest.
Examine cords for frays or kinks in the wire. If the wiring is cracked or damaged, have it checked or repaired by a qualified electrician. Make sure the prongs on the plugs are secure. If they’re loose or missing, have the plug repaired or replaced. Check plug points to make sure they’re securely anchored and operate normally.
Space heaters are a convenient way to provide supplemental heat to an area. However, space heaters account for almost half of home heating fires.
The primary factor in deaths from home heating fires is placing items too close to the heating source. Keep clothing, curtains, bedding and toys at least one metre away from space heaters.
Place heaters in areas out of the way of foot traffic or doorways. They should be placed on a flat, even surface when in use to avoid tipping over.
Check to see if it has an automatic shutoff in case it tips over. Turn heaters off when you leave the room, and unplug them when they’re not being used. Fire prevention experts recommend plugging electric space heaters directly into the wall. Avoid plugging other appliances into the same outlet.
Everyone enjoys getting into a warm bed on a cold winters night. Electric blankets are a popular way to preheat the bed however experts recommend limiting use of electric blankets to 30 minutes and turning them off before going to bed.
Never place heavy objects, including pets and people on top of an electric blanket. This can damage the wiring or cause the blanket to overheat. Do not cover an electric blanket with another blanket.
Before the first use of an electric blanket at the start of the winter season, examine it carefully. Make sure no wires protrude and that wires are smooth. If there are black or frayed areas, discard the blanket. Never fold the blanket when it’s turned on. Blankets more than 10 years old should be thrown away.
Smoke alarms are an effective early warning signal for fire. However, a smoke alarm is effective only if it works. Test alarms each month to make sure they’re in good working order. If your alarm has a battery, change it each year. It’s recommended to replace old smoke alarms with photoelectric models.
An alarm should be placed on each level of a home. Ideally, an alarm should be placed outside each bedroom door because you may not smell smoke when you’re asleep.
Whenever possible, plug appliances directly into wall outlets. If you must use an extension cord, be sure it’s rated for the appliance that you’re plugging into it.
Overloading it can cause short circuits or fires. Route cords away from places people walk to avoid tripping, such as across doorways. Running cords under carpets can cause overheating or damage.
If you need more power points, ask a qualified electrician to add receptacles. In the garden, use heavy-duty, waterproof cords designed for outdoor use.
Electrical Devices and Water
Electrical safety in bathrooms and kitchens is a must. Never use a hairdryer or other appliance with wet hands. Make sure plug points are far from sources of water so that they cannot get splashed. If they are near a sink, use plug covers.
Install safety switches in bathrooms and kitchens to protect against electrocution.
Take a close look at each room to assess whether electrical outlets, cords or appliances are within the reach of young children. Use plug caps in outlets and route cords away from play areas.
Be sure to educate your children about the proper use of electrical devices. These common-sense tips will become second nature to them as they grow up.
Contact us today at AMP’D Electrical & Solar to inspect light fixtures, appliances and other electrical devices in your home to make sure they’re safe to use. With a bit of common sense and precaution, you can stay warm and enjoy the winter season safely with your loved ones.