5 Home Electrical Safety Tips for the Holidays
According to the National Fire Protection Asociation (NFPA), “U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 22,410 reported home structure fires involving electrical distribution or lighting equipment in 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 325 civilian fire deaths, 950 civilian fire injuries, and $817 million in direct property damage.”
December and January are the peak months for home fires because of all the electrical, heating, and other fire hazards that take place over the holiday season. For instance, “the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve.”
Protect your home and family this holiday season with the following electrical safety tips for the holidays.
ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Don't connect more than three strands of lights –
“Electrical failures or malfunctions were involved in one-third (32%) of the home Christmas tree structure fires.” Plug in more than three strands of lights into one outlet and you could trip a breaker or risk starting a fire.
Blow out candles and turn off lights at night or away – 50 percent of home fire deaths occur when we are asleep, between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am. Designate one person in your house to make sure all heating devices are turned off at night, such as ovens, stovetops, candles, space heaters, and Christmas lights.
Remember to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month and change the batteries
AFCIs (arc-fault circuit-interrupters) and GFCIs (ground-fault circuit-interrupters) installed– AFCIs protect your home from unintended electrical arcs caused when wires and cords have been damaged or frayed. They protect you by automatically shutting off your electrical currently when dangerous arcing occurs. In addition, GFCIs are absolutely necessary for any outlets that may be exposed to water or moisture, such as the kitchen, bathroom, pool, and outdoor outlets. The GFCIs are easily recognizable because they have “test” and “reset” buttons on them. GFCIs protect you and your family from potential electrical shocks due to water by automatically shutting off the electrical circuit when a safety hazard presents itself, similar to AFCIs.
Check decorations for a certification label – All of your decorative lights and electrical equipment should be labeled with either UL, CSA or ETL. If they aren't marked with one of these labels, they have not been tested for safety.
Avoid electrical fires – Be careful not to overload circuits or extension cords. Overloaded connections, frayed or damaged wiring, and other electrical malfunctions account for over two-thirds of fires involving holiday lighting.
Keep plugs safe – Unplug all appliances when you're not using them. If a plug is overheating, smells weird, shorts out or sparks - the appliance should be shut off, then replaced or repaired immediately.
Install Whole-House Surge Protection – If lightning strikes your home, an electrical surge can damage all of your electrical devices that are plugged in, including TVs, computers, phones, and other expensive gadgets. Have your Gold Medal electrician install your whole-home surge protection to protect your modern home.
Smoke Detectors and Fire Sprinklers Save Lives – When combined with working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers significantly increase your chance of surviving a fire. Sprinklers are affordable and can increase property value and decrease insurance rates.
Inspect electronics regularly – Take the time to routinely inspect your electrical connections and wiring. Make sure that plants, paper, and other flammable substances are far away from outlets and other heat sources.
Federal Pacific Panels have caused many electrical fires – Millions of these dangerous panels were installed in American homes from 1950 to 1980. The New Jersey State Court ruled that the Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Company "violated the Consumer Fraud Act because FPE knowingly and purposefully distributed circuit breakers which were not tested to meet UL standards..." You can tell if you have a Federal Pacific Panel or not if you open up your panel door and it says “Stab Lock” or “Federal Pacific” anywhere on it. Have your Gold Medal Electrician inspect your electrical panel for any safety hazards.
For a fun recap of some home electrical safety tips for the holidays, watch this video from NCPublicPower:
Have you inspected the electrical wiring in your home lately? If the answer is no or never, then you may be at risk for an electrical fire. Some of the most common causes of fire in the home are entirely preventable. Check to make sure that your circuits are not overloaded and that you have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s) installed around any outlets near water. The label behind the door to your electrical panel should give you an idea if an electrical inspection has taken place anytime recently.
If it’s been too long, call Gold Medal Service today! Call (732) 365-3199 or visit us on our website for a full list of electrical services.