Top Tips to Keep Your Electrical System Safe in the Fall
As temperatures drop and fall approaches, it’s the best time to get your electrical system in order. During the cold season, you’ll be using household appliances and lighting more often. You ought to take precautions to minimize fire and electrical hazards. In this article, we will outline steps you can take to keep your home safe.
Check Extension Cords and Use Surge Protectors
As the cold winter approaches, you’ll be using some equipment more often. In the past, a few electrical outlets were sufficient for most household needs. But today, you need extension cords to power all devices and equipment in your home.
You can overload extension cords with laptop chargers, computers, TV, and other household electronics. During fall, it’s a good idea to inspect the strip cords and outlets. If there are burn marks on the strip cord, you should get a replacement for your safety.
Worn-out strips and outlets allow for loose connections that may start a fire. If you’re using an extension cord outdoors, you should ensure it’s weather-proof and well protected. Households with young children should cover the unused outlets, especially in the fall when most people remain indoors.
You may also want to consider acquiring a surge protector. A surge protector is critical for preventing damage, especially for high-end electronics. So, it’s advisable to use the device for your entertainment system and computers.
However, if you often need reset the circuit breaker, it’s best to seek the assistance of an electrician. A frequently tripping circuit usually indicates that it’s overloaded. At Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning, our electricians will inspect the electrical system and propose solutions for your Kirkland home.
Test Your Home’s Safety System
Your home has safety systems to prevent hazards from electrical faults. The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is part of the safety system that you should test during fall. GFCI outlets are installed near sources of water such as the bathroom or the kitchen to minimize the risk of shocks.
You can test GFCI circuits by pressing the reset button on the side of the outlet. If the device does not respond, it may call for a replacement. An electrician should first inspect it to determine if there are issues on other parts of the circuit.
Your fire and carbon monoxide detectors should also be in perfect condition throughout the fall. During the cold season, heating appliances will be running more often. Therefore, there’s a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if you use portable generators or combustion appliances.
Statistics suggest more than 50,000 people visit emergency rooms, and more than 300 die due to carbon monoxide exposure. The risk of CO poisoning is higher in enclosed places. For that reason, never run a generator or a gas-powered engine in the basement or inside the house.
It’s also advisable to test the carbon monoxide detectors before fall. You ought to also carry out routine inspections of your safety system, ideally every six months. Replace the batteries and check if the sensor is working.
If the device is not responding, you should contact a professional electrician. Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning electrical staff can perform reliable inspections in Kirkland to restore your home’s safety.
Be Cautious When Using Electrical Equipment Outdoors
In fall, a lot of leaves can accumulate around electrical outlets outside your home. It may take only a spark from a lighting fixture to start a fire. So, it’s wise to remove flammable objects like dry leaves and plastic containers lying around electrical outlets outdoors.
The outlet outside your home must also be a GFCI device to minimize the risk of shocks and electrical fires. The outlet should, ideally, have bubble covers that can protect against snow and rainfall.
If you’re using any electrical appliances outdoors, you should ensure that they’re weather-proof. There’s more moisture in autumn than in the hot summer season. The moisture will damage electrical appliances and increase incidences of electric shocks.
Observe Space Heater and Electric Blanket Safety
According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency), half of all fires occur during the winter months. Household equipment like space heaters provide supplemental heating during the winter months. But they can be prone to starting fires, depending on how you use the appliance.
The appliance ought to be in good condition and should be away from high traffic areas. A faulty system can cause electrical arcs that start fires. Wrong placement of the space heater can lead to tripping hazards and, in turn, electrical fires.
The heater needs to be not less than three feet away from the wall, papers, or flammable materials. You must not use the appliance to dry clothes or thaw piping. Avoid placing the space heater on cabinets or shelves. It can overheat and start fires.
Pay attention to how you store the electric blanket. Folding the blanket can cause overheating, which may start a fire. For the same reason, do not place a cover over the electric blanket. Also, ensure that the appliance is in good condition before using it in the cold season.
Consider Upgrading Your Electrical Panel
Do you have multiple power strips all over your home? If there are a limited number of outlets, an extension cord can help power devices. However, you may be drawing more power from the outlet than it can handle.
Most extension cords will list their power specifications in watts. You can calculate how much you are using against the rating of the power strip. If you exceed that wattage, the extension cords will start to spark. The sparking can trigger a fire or damage other appliances in your home.
You may also have to upgrade your electrical panel if you notice the lights are flickering. Some lighting fixtures may dim when you turn on a powerful appliance like a dishwasher or washing machine. You may also notice sparking when you plug electronics into the outlet.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, consult an electrician to inspect the electrical system. Your house’s circuit could be outdated and have old wires that cannot handle loads from a modern household.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Circuit
It may be necessary to upgrade if your home’s circuit is more than 30 years old. Such houses have electrical faults such as aluminum wiring, lack of grounding for outlets, frayed wires, amongst other problems.
The upgrade depends on the current state of your circuit. You can replace an old fuse box or rewire to replace aluminum wiring. You can work with Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning’s electricians in Kirkland to determine the best course of action to keep your home safe.
An upgrade of your home’s circuit will not only improve safety but can also raise the value of your home. A rewiring will let buyers know that the house is safe and can handle electrical loads from modern appliances.
You can rely on Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning in Kirkland for breaker box wiring, installation of outlets, or troubleshooting the electrical system. From new constructions to remodeling, no project is too big or small for our team. Our experienced electricians will troubleshoot your electrical system and fix the problem on the spot. Schedule an appointment today for quality electrical services in Kirkland. Besides electrical services, you can contact us for heating, cooling, gas fireplaces, and indoor air quality services as well.