Electrical

5 Electrical Safety Tips For This Winter Season

Written by Mari-Allyson Dee-Taylor

THE MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PROFESSIONAL ADVICE.LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY DOES NOT PURPORT TO BE A SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT WITH REGARD TO THIS MATERIAL, AND YOU SHOULD CONDUCT YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND/OR SEEK THE ADVICE OF APPROPRIATELY QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS WITH REGARD TO YOUR SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES BEFORE YOU TAKE ACTION. LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY, AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ALL LIABILITY, FOR YOUR USE OF ANY AND ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN.


Here are 5 electrical safety tips to help you avoid an electrical house fire during this holiday season.

The National Fire Protection Agency reports that electrical fires are the leading type of home fires in the US, where roughly half involve equipment like portable or stationary space heaters. In order to avoid electrical hazards, follow the heater manufacturers’ instructions first! You can also follow these tips below to help reduce your risk of an electrical fire this holiday season.

Don’t Plug Space Heaters into Extension Cords or Power Strips

Space heaters require a high current in order to work properly so plug them into a wall outlet.

Space heaters should never be plugged into a power strip because the power strip is not designed to handle the high current that space heaters require. The high current passing through the power strip can cause it to melt, burn, or even catch on fire. Plugging the space heater into a wall outlet is the safest option. Avoid plugging anything else into the same wall outlet as the heater.

Space heaters are meant to put out a lot of heat and can cause furniture, like sofas, to light on fire. Firefighters recommend leaving a minimum of three feet around the space heater at all times. Avoid placing a heater on any surface that can overheat and start a fire like a cabinet, table, or carpet. The best place to put a space heater is on a flat, level surface that will not overheat, like tile or hardwood floors.

Don’t Overload Electrical Outlets

Only plug one high wattage decoration into a wall outlet and use a surge protector for everything else. Click to download the infographic teaching you about 5 electrical safety tips for this winter season.

A good rule of thumb is to only plug one high-wattage decoration into each wall outlet to avoid overloading the electrical outlets, which are a common cause of holiday fires.

The lights on your Christmas tree should be plugged into a surge protector to help avoid a voltage spike, causing all of the lights on your tree to burn out.

Don’t Connect Over Three Strings of Lights

Only connect up to three strings of lights at a time and only when they are the same amount of lights per string to for electrical safety.

Connecting multiple strings of lights can cause your circuit breaker to trip, or worse, start a fire. When shopping for Christmas lights, consider purchasing LED lights because they use less energy and don’t produce as much heat as incandescent lights. Before you leave your house or go to sleep, turn off all lights and other decorations, both indoor and outdoor.

Check for safety certification on decorations and lights from independent laboratories such as Underwriters Laboratories. After checking the lights, plug them in to make sure they all work before stringing them on the tree. When connecting different strings of light, connect strings that have the same amount of bulbs per string. For example, if you have a string of 50 lights, do not connect it to a string of 100 lights because they will permanently burn out due to the different amount of voltage.

Make Sure Any Outdoor Extension Cords or Christmas Lights Are Marked for Outdoor Use

When looking for an outdoor extension cord choose a powerstrip that has a three-prong plug.

Outdoor and indoor extension cords are different! For example, outdoor extension cords have more durable insulation to protect the wires from moisture and temperature changes. They are also able to prevent damage from chemicals and sunlight damage to the wires.

An extension cord is an outdoor cord if it has a three-prong plug. The third prong acts as a grounding wire, reducing the chance of electrical shock and fires. When setting up outdoor decorations, use lights and extension cords specified for outdoor use. You can use an outdoor extension cord inside, but you should not use an indoor extension cord outside.

Avoid putting any decorations within 10 feet of a power line and exercise extreme caution when decorating near power lines.

Protect Your Electrical Cords From Damage

Keep extension cords out of reach of children and animals to protect them. Click to download the infographic teaching you about 5 electrical safety tips for this winter season.

Do not hide electrical cords and power strips behind furniture or under rugs because they could spark and start a fire!

Never place electrical cords within a child's reach. You should also use the plastic caps that cover electrical outlets to keep them from sticking their fingers inside! Keep your dogs and cats away from electrical cords, too, to make sure they do not chew on them and cause a short or shock them.

Your Home Warranty Will Cover Normal Wear and Tear on Your Electrical System

A home warranty can protect your home’s electrical system throughout the year.

When a part of your electrical system fails due to normal wear and tear, call Landmark first! Here are some aspects of your electrical system that are covered under a Landmark home warranty:

  • Wiring and Junction Boxes
  • Electrical Panels
  • Circuit Breakers
  • Fuses and Switches
  • Ceiling and Exhaust Fans

It is important to note that electrical outlet surges that cause damage are not covered by a Landmark home warranty, because outlet surges are not considered normal wear and tear. However, using the tips above will ensure that your home’s electrical system will be protected this holiday season.

Learn more about your home’s electrical system and how a home warranty will protect it when it fails here!

Click to download the infographic teaching you about 5 electrical safety tips for this winter season.

Other resources you might be interested in:
Learn about how you can avoid common holiday hazards with this blog. Learn about the different types of electrical outlets that there are and how each of them work. As a home warranty homeowner there are responsibilities that you have, learn about them here.

Electrical System Articles

Learn more about how your electrical system works in your home, as well as how to do simple repairs and maintenance to keep it running longer.

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