Electricity has an important, everyday role in our lives. But it’s equally important to never get complacent around this powerful force. Keep the following safety tips in mind as winter’s chill enters your home.
Space heaters should be used sparingly and safely. Always follow the manufacturer’s operating recommendations and keep them several feet away from all flammable objects. Heaters may require occasional cleaning, which can be done by first unplugging the heater and simply vacuuming to remove dust. Do not dismantle the heater for cleaning.
Electric blankets should be checked for damage before use. Look for kinks, worn wires, scorch marks or breaks in the heating element. Remember, electric blankets have a limited life, and if there is any doubt about the safety of yours, replace it.
Don’t tangle with tingles. If you receive electric shocks or tingles from an appliance, turn it off, unplug it, do not use it, and discard it or get it checked out immediately.
If a switch or plug plate is warm to the touch or discolored, don’t use it. Have it—and your entire home’s electric system—checked out by a qualified electrician and make necessary repairs. Flickering lights and buzzing sounds can also indicate issues that need to be addressed.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested and the batteries replaced at least twice a year to make sure they are working properly.
Surge protectors should be used for all valuable electronics. And if the holidays brought additional computers, TVs and other electrical devices into your home, be sure not to overload electrical circuits.
If winter storms bring down power lines, stay far away from them and notify your cooperative immediately. Keep others away until help arrives.
Home fires are far more common in winter months due to drier air and other conditions. Exercise extra caution around anything flammable and make sure you have appropriate working fire extinguishers in the kitchen, garage and other areas where fire risk is higher. You should also have an escape plan for your family in the event of a fire.