As the days get shorter and cooler, we move back inside. That means we use more electricity with things such as lights being on more, more devices running, portable heating devices, etc. And with holidays, we add decorations that might use electricity.
Electrical safety is something we all need to think about. Let's explore a few things to think about to keep you and your family safe.
Things to remember:
- Space heaters should never be plugged into extension cords or power strips. Space heaters need more current than most outlet strips are designed to provide.
- Follow the safety instructions on your electric blankets. Do not fold them when they're plugged in or warm. Make sure the cord is in good shape. And do not leave them plugged in unattended.
- Electrical outlets should never be overloaded. Not only will you have a drain on the power provided, but you also run the risk of overloads causing a fire.
- Do not hide power cords and outlet strips under or behind rugs, furniture, or curtains.
- Keep all your extension cords and outlet strips away from children and pets. These are easily damaged and can easily become dangerous. Also, keep children away from wall outlets as well. You can purchase inexpensive plastic caps to cover the outlets.
- Check your light bulbs - are they the correct bulb for that light? Are they too bright or do they burn out often? You may have the wrong bulbs. Or the light is wired incorrectly.
- Unplug unnecessary electronics when not in use. If you see lights on your electrical devices when they are off, they are still pulling electricity.
- Do not use damaged or frayed cords! Check those lamps and computer cords.
- Do not ignore inconsistencies in power. Do your lights flicker on and off frequently? Do the dimmer switches not work correctly? Or do your high-wattage appliances, such as a microwave, frequently trip the breaker? Don't ignore those issues.
- Strings of lights should be plugged into a surge protector to avoid spikes. And you shouldn't plug more than three strings together.
- If you have old lights, consider upgrading to LED lights.
- Check for certifications from a nationally recognized testing laboratory on your decorations and lights.
- Make sure any extension cords you use outside are designed to be used outside.
- Remember, additional pull from holiday decorations can cause an outlet to overheat as well as trip breakers.