Although the winters that we get in BC’s lower mainland do not compare to those seen throughout the rest of Canada, the season still comes with difficulties and hazards. Between significant rainfall, ice, and the occasional wind or snowstorm, winter brings weather that can create further dangers in the form of electrical hazards. At Expert Electric, we want to ensure that everyone is equipped with the right licensed electrician tips for home electrical safety for winter to keep them safe and warm.
Electrical Winter Safety Tips
When winter comes around, it is important to be prepared for the difficulties that can come with the cold, wet weather. Some tips to keep in mind to make sure that you and your home stay safe this winter include:
If you are using a space heater in your home, make sure you place it at a safe distance from furniture, walls, rugs, curtains, and other belongings. Space heaters are a great way to keep specific rooms warm without ramping up monthly heating bills but, because of the high heat output of electrical heaters, it is important to keep them away from flammable material. If you feel objects around the heater becoming hot, move the heater. Fires can easily be started by an unattended heater. Always turn off the heater when it’s not in use.
Prepare for Power Outages
The increase in icy weather can cause downed tree branches and car accidents, which can damage power lines and cause electrical outages. In the event that there is a power outage, you should be as prepared as possible. Sometimes power can be out for hours; other times, it can be out for days. If an outage occurs at night, you cannot rely on space heaters to keep you warm. Be prepared for extended power outages with an emergency kit. The emergency kit should be readily accessible and contain batteries, flashlights, blankets/sleeping bags/warm clothes, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, and sufficient water for your family. This will help to keep your family warm, fed, and safe during an emergency.
If you have a backup generator, ensure that it is ready to go. The start of winter is a good time to have regular maintenance and check-ups done on your generator. Have a professional inspect it to ensure that oil and gas levels are correct and that the connection to the home or business is safe and secure. If a power outage occurs, you want to be confident that you can rely on your backup power supply.
Avoid using candles during power outages. Many people use candles to light their rooms during power outages and, while this can deliver a nice ambience, it is very dangerous. If the candles are unattended or wax drips and causes build up around the candle, it can result in a fire. Instead, use flashlights or LED candles.
Preparing Your Home’s Electrical Setup
Power outages can do damage to your home, and harsh weather can be a hazard to many of your home’s electrical components. There a few ways you can defend your home’s electrical setup against winter:
- Be aware of water and exposed wires. With freezing and thawing occurring repeatedly, it is possible for water to find its way into some of the nooks and crannies of your home. Walk around your home’s interior and exterior walls and look for any exposed wires that could come into contact with water. Make sure any problems are addressed quickly.
- Having a home surge protector will help suppress surges to prevent electrocutions and damage to appliances and electronics.
- You can also protect your appliances and electronic devices in your home with surge protectors. Review your home setup to check if surge protectors are active and still functional.
- During an extended power outage, unplug your major appliances (oven, fridge, freezer, television) and turn off light fixtures (although you can leave on some lights so that you know when the power returns). This can prevent power surges from occurring and damaging the appliances when power returns.
Keep Away from Downed Power Lines
If an icy tree branch knocks down a power line or if a car hits a power pole and the electrical wiring falls down, keep at least three metres or 10 feet away at all times. Power lines are very powerful and can cause serious electrocution if you are not careful. Keep your family and children educated, as they could come across a downed power line during their daily commute. Always call 911 when you see a power line down.
If you are interested in finding out more licensed electrician tips for home electrical safety for winter, or if you would like to learn more about the electrical services we provide, please contact Expert Electric at 604-681-8338.