Temperatures are now declining, and frigid winter months are ahead. And while many parts of the country are enjoying crisp autumn mornings in October, if the Farmer’s Almanac is right, about two-thirds of the nation will be in for a colder-than-average winter throughout 2013 and into 2014. Of course, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a slightly warmer-than-average winter across much of the country during this same timeframe.
Regardless of where you live or which predictions you follow, one thing is certain – winter is approaching. And research has shown that winter months are the most dangerous for electrical fires. As unpredictable as weather is, you need to begin preparing your electrical system now. Otherwise, you’re at risk for a serious fire hazard.
As temperatures get colder, proper and regular maintenance of electrical systems is critical, and Mister Sparky® is here to help! Make sure your electrical system is prepared with the tips below.
- Test and clean smoke alarms! Working smoke alarms can increase the chance of surviving a home fire by 50 percent. Home owners should have a working smoke alarm on every level on the home.
- Avoid using space heaters (which can be a major fire hazard) and use ceiling fans to help heat a room. While counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes, switching to clockwise can help make it warmer because warm air pooled near the ceiling is pushed back down to the living space.
- If you must use one, plug the space heater directly into the wall outlet. A space heater uses a lot of energy, and it’s not safe to use an extension cord for it.
- Keep the space heater at least three feet away from anything that can burn. In 24 percent of fires caused by space heaters or wood stoves, the heater was too close to something that could catch fire.
- Consult an electrician about installing circuit protective devices. If your home was built before January 1, 2002, it might not have been built with AFCIs (arc-fault circuit-interrupters), which can help protect your electrical system from overloads and short circuits.
Call one of our electricians today to schedule your maintenance check that could help avoid any winter disasters and prevent fires.