With a full pantry, a functioning heater, and a well-insulated building, you are well-prepared for the winter season in your home in Fuquay-Varina, NC. However, there are a few cold-weather challenges related to your electrical system that you should be aware of. To ensure the safety of your household this winter, here are several electrical safety tips to keep in mind.

1. Don’t Use Space Heaters as Your Primary Heating Solution

Every home in Fuquay-Varina needs a functional, fixed heating solution. Whether this is a furnace, heat pump, or boiler, it should be your primary or sole source of heating throughout the season. If it breaks down, relying on space heaters and electric blankets is a bad idea. Older space heaters come with tipping hazards, the risk of overheating, and serious skin burns. Even simply folding an electric blanket during use or storing it the wrong way can result in damaged wiring, shorts, and the risk of fire.

You should also avoid using your oven as a primary source of heat or burning lots of candles to create warmth. Although short-term use of these tactics works well for most short-duration heating emergencies, fixing your heating equipment is always a safer choice.

2. Keep Flammable Items Clear of Heat Sources

Keep flammable items clear of all heaters, stoves, HVAC air vents, and other continuous sources of heat. You should also keep highly flammable items away from your outlets. If you push your Christmas tree too close to these features or surround them with tissue-wrapped packages, a single spark could spell disaster.

3. Have Hard-Wired Safety Devices Inspected

Many homes with fuel-burning, carbon monoxide-producing appliances have combination fire alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors wired directly into their electrical systems. Although these units have a constant supply of electrical power, they’ll switch to battery operation during an electrical outage. To ensure that they’re working reliably, schedule a CO and fire alarm inspection before winter starts and replace all backup batteries as needed.

4. Don’t Overload Outlets or Extension Cords

To create warm or festive atmospheres, many consumers make the mistake of overloading their outlets. Whether plugging holiday lights in or installing a new home entertainment system, space your plug-ins out. If you haven’t done so in a while, it’s also a good idea to update your electrical system before adding in new appliances, devices, or lighting elements.

It’s additionally important to avoid overloading extension cords. Never plug more than one extension cord into a single outlet. If you can, try not to use more than one extension cord in a single room or on a single circuit. If you don’t have enough outlets for accommodating all of your electronics, have “dead” outlets repaired or have new outlets added.

5. Check for and Address Pest Infestations

Pests can undermine your indoor air quality by leaving lots of debris behind. In outlets, build-ups of feces, food, shed exoskeletons and other materials increase the risk of fires. Moreover, if you have rodents, cockroaches, bed bugs, or other common pests sheltering in these spaces, your home can also sustain significant wire damage. Rodents often gnaw on electrical wiring insulation and many insects feed on insulating materials. Having your home inspected and treated by a professional pest control company can both spare you thousands of dollars in damage and limit your risk of electrical fires.

6. Schedule a Whole-House Plumbing Inspection

There are many benefits to scheduling whole-house plumbing inspections once each year. Among these is a decreased risk of electrocution. Many homes have slow, hidden leaks at the backs of dishwashers, washing machines, and other water-reliant appliances or just behind their drywall. Having these leaks identified and fixed will lower your water bill, improve the performance of all affected appliances and fixtures, and limit the risk of electric shock. This is especially important to do if using an appliance frequently causes its ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet to trip.

7. Invest in Surge Protection

When your power goes off, all of your home’s hard-wired features and everything you have plugged in can sustain serious damage. When power supplies are restored, higher-than-normal amounts of voltage flow through your electrical system. You can purchase inexpensive, single-outlet surge protection at most local home and hardware stores. However, only whole-house surge protection will keep your major appliances, your outlets, and your electrical system protected. Not only will this home improvement increase the lifespans of these features, but it will also minimize your risk of electrical fires.

Residents of Fuquay-Varina, NC can count on us for superior residential and commercial electrical services. We offer EV charging stations, backup generators, whole-house surge protection, and ample repair solutions. To schedule an appointment, get in touch with Dawson's Electric now.

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