While you’re busily enjoying the holidays, it’s important to take a moment to stop and assess the electrical safety in your home. Fires and other electrical accidents are tragic at any time of year, but seem especially heartbreaking during the holiday season.
We talked to Hanna Taylor of Hotwire Electric to get her expert advice on how homeowners can stay safe during the holidays. Here are her Top 7 Seasonal Electrical Safety Tips.
1. Don’t Just Reset a Tripped Breaker
Many believe that adding a string of lights to a current load should be fine, and when the breaker trips they can just reset it. Well, did you know that when a breaker trips, it is finding an issue with the load and trips for your safety? Resetting it reduces its usefulness and constant tripping can render the breaker faulty.
2. Use Caution with Extension Cords
Extension cords are a hazard because many don’t know if they purchased exterior / outdoor rated extension cords or not. It is very important to use the right cord for the right environment -either indoor or out. You also need to ensure that the current rating of the appliance that you are plugging in doesn’t exceed the extension cord’s rating. The cord could overheat.
3. Consider LED lights this season
Switching to LED lights is a good idea for several reasons. Not only will they help cut down on energy costs, but they run at a cooler temperature and you can avoid overheating.
4. Be Careful When Installing Outdoor Decorations
Keep safe when on a ladder and avoid touching hydro lines or even getting close to them. Your safety is more important than adding Santa and his sleigh to your roof.
5. Purchase the Right Lights
Make sure that any light strings that you purchase come with a CSA sticker and are UL rated. It is also very important to match the amps of the outlets in use.
6. Never Overload Your Circuits
This really cannot be said strongly enough. Overloading your circuits is a BIG no-no. They can overheat and cause a fire!
7. Get to Know Your GFCI Outlets
GFCI outlets are those on the exterior of your home. Make sure you are plugging lights into good, working outlets that are waterproof and installed to code. It is also important to keep in mind that while there are many handyman companies that can hang exterior lights for you, you need to hire a licensed electrician to add GFCI outlets, circuits and lighting loads.
You may also want to consider adding an outlet under the eaves. This will eliminate the need for extension cords and make holiday decorating and home maintenance much easier in the future.
In the end, always be safe, follow the instructions and warnings from the lighting manufacturer and use a licensed electrical contractor for anything beyond the most basic scope of electrical work.
Hotwire Electric is a GTA electrical company specializing in custom homes and new construction. To learn more about their services, please see their listings here on eieihome.com.