Last week we discussed some tips on decorating your home safely for the upcoming festive season. This week, we want to continue the conversation about the importance of electrical safety. Keep reading for some helpful tips to ensure your home stays festive and protected as you enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays.
Inspect plugs and cords
Before you begin hanging your lights and decorations, be sure to inspect them for damaged wires, frayed cords, or broken sockets. If you notice damage or significant wear, it is time to replace those items. It is best to avoid running wires under carpets or furniture.
When unplugging from an outlet, it is important to do so safely and properly. We recommend gently pulling the plug, rather than harshly tugging on the wire, from a distance. You also want to make sure that your plug-ins aren’t covered by heavy furniture or other equipment that can damage the plug in any way. If you do have electrical outlets behind a couch, for example, ensure the object isn’t pushing against the plug.
When plugging into an electrical outlet, ensure you put the plug in properly, and never overwhelm extension cords as this could cause overheating, which may result in a fire.
If you happen to notice unusually warm or hot outlets or cables, this could be sign of unsafe wiring. Immediately unplug everything from the outlet, and refrain from using until you have had an electrician come and investigate the wiring.
Never use a cord that has obvious damage. Regularly check them to ensure they are in working order and replace if needed.
Be cautious with extension cords
It is easy to overload your extension cords for the sake of ease and convenience. Using these correctly and for their intended use ensures proper safety measures. Make sure you are using ones that are rated for the intended use, and don’t combine multiple cords together! When possible, try to keep wires out of the way from high traffic areas, and away from furniture to help prevent damage.
The Electrical Safety Foundation reports that “roughly 3,300 home fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring 270 more. Extension cords can overheat and cause fires when used improperly.”
It is important to always keep water and any other kinds of liquids at a safe distance from sources of electricity. You may also want to consider installing a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is described as “an electrical safety device. It is designed to trip or cut power to electrical circuits by monitoring the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral wiring.” A GFCI can help in preventing accidents such as electric shock or fires.
A couple more tips!
Remember to shut off your decorative lights, including your Christmas tree, when you aren’t home. This helps keep your home safe, and it also reduces electrical costs. Lastly, replace your wick-burning candles with LED candles. You will achieve the same ambience without the risk of fire or possible injury (especially if you have furry friends or small children visiting your home throughout the holiday season).
We want everyone to stay safe! Keep these tips in mind, and your home will be ready to welcome visitors to celebrate the season, worry free, all month long.