The rain and cold looks to be setting in; winter is upon us. As we prepare our homes to keep warm, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you are safe and protected against winter electrical hazards.
Check your smoke alarms
Electrical fires are more common in winter with heaters on. Every year there are over 4,500 House fires in NSW alone with electrical appliances and faults causing almost 40% of all home fires.
The best protection against a fire in your home is to have working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are life-saving devices that detect smoke well before any sleeping occupant would, and provide critical seconds to implement actions to save life and property. You are twice as likely to die in a house fire if you don’t have working smoke alarms.
Don’t put off basic and critical fire protection for you and your family, getting your fire alarms checked annually should be high on your to-do list. As a general rule of thumb, if your smoke alarm is ten years old or more, you definitely need to replace it.
Check Your Electrical Appliances and Equipment
Oil heaters, blow heaters, electric blankets. We often put these away in storage for most of the year and pull them out in Winter. Before plugging them in to use, make sure you give them a good clean first as dust can cause smoking, overheating, and even electrical fires.
Secondly, check that the cords aren’t frayed, kinked or that there isn’t any deterioration where the wiring is exposed. If you notice any damages, it’s best to replace the appliance rather than use it, or at least have it inspected by a licensed electrician, who is able to replace the wiring and cabling.
Use Heaters Responsibly
It’s important to recognise that heaters can be very dangerous. If you are using electrical heaters, ensure that they are placed at a safe distance from curtains, furniture, rugs etc.
Be aware common heaters like oil heaters/ space heaters use a lot of electricity. They can also easily overload circuits, causing a power failure or fire. Some parts of the heater can also become really hot. Children and pets are especially vulnerable to getting burned, but adults can also accidentally brush up against the hot surface.
Make sure they are placed on flat, even ground to prevent it from tipping over. This is especially important if your heater doesn’t come with an automatic shutoff should it get knocked over.
Lastly, when you leave the room, turn off your heater. Not only will this cut down your electricity bill, but it’s also a great safety precaution as well. In fact, if you won’t be using your heater for some time, unplug the heater completely.
Use Electric Blankets responsibly
Electric blankets have been known to cause electrical fires and can be dangerous if not used correctly. We recommend the following precautions when it comes to using them;
Limit use to 30 minutes at a time, so half an hour before getting into bed turn it on to warm the bed up.
Turn off your electric blanket before bed. It is not healthy to have the electric blanket on when you sleep, it is also dangerous. Ensure household members get into the habit of turning it off before they get into bed.
Inspect the electric blanket’s wiring for frays and other damages before use.
Replace electric blankets if they are 10+ years old.
The safety of your family and electrical systems is always our biggest priority. If you would like one of our electricians to come to your home to do a comprehensive safety check of your electrical system, give us a call on 9477 2550.