How to Safeguard Your Home Against Electrical Hazards This Winter

Image of a person holding their hands over a space heater at home

Along with the chilly weather and frosty mountain peaks, winter is a great time to curl up in your home with an oversized blanket and hot chocolate. While you avoid the brisk weather of the outdoors, you may want to pay some extra attention to your electrical safety. As you increase your use of heaters and other appliances, winter can be a prime time for home electrical hazards. Fortunately, there are simple measures you can take to ensure your home is prepared for Vancouver’s cold season…

1. Check Your Electrical Appliances and Equipment

To start your winter safety off right, inspect your electrical appliances and equipment for faults or damages. If you’re dragging your appliances out of storage, you’ll want to give them a good clean before first use as dust can cause smoking, overheating, and fires.

Carefully examine your cords for frays, kinks, or cracking in the wire. It’s also important to inspect the insulation protecting the wire for signs of pinching, as this coating is crucial to keep the wires from overheating. If you notice any damages, it’s crucial that you have a professional residential electrician take a look.

2. Use Space Heaters Responsibly

While these commonly used devices are a convenient way to provide supplemental heat to a space, they can be a fire risk if not used properly. Something you’ll definitely want to avoid is placing items too close to your heater. From furniture and décor to clothes, toys, and curtains, keep at least one meter (or 3+ feet) of distance between your space heater and other items.

It’s also a good idea to keep your heater out of harm’s way. Meaning, if you find a low-profile spot that doesn’t experience much foot traffic, you can avoid collisions and damages to your heater. Finding flat, even ground to place your heater on will prevent it from tipping over. This is especially important if your space heater doesn’t come with an automatic shutoff should it get knocked over.

Lastly, when you leave the room, turn off your space heater. Not only will this cut down your hydro 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. It’s also recommended that you avoid sharing your space heater’s wall outlet with other appliances, to prevent tripping a breaker and overloading the circuit.

3. Electric Blankets

These aren’t just for your grandparents’ house. Electric blankets are a popular way to preheat your bed, so you can crawl into warm sheets on a cold winter’s nights. However, precautions must be taken with your electric blanket to prevent it from overheating and causing a fire.

For safe usage, abide by the following guidelines:

  • Limit use to 30 minutes at a time
  • Turn off your electric blanket before bed
  • Avoid placing heavy objects atop your electric blanket (including people, pets, and bedding)
  • Inspect the electric blanket’s wiring for frays and other damages
  • Electric blankets that are 10+ years old should be replaced

4. Check Your Smoke Alarms

A smoke alarm is an effective way to alert you and other house guests of a fire. To keep this life-saving device in working order, conduct regular tests and make sure you replace the batteries when needed. Monthly inspections and yearly battery replacements will go a long way in protecting your home in case of a fire. If you need to replace the device entirely, your electrical contractors can set you up with the latest smoke detector models.

5. Take Extra Electrical Care This Winter

It’s a busy time. The holidays are winding down and you’re probably getting back into your regular routine. With that said, it’s also a great time to give our electricians at BPM Electric a call to conduct professional safety tests on your system. As licensed, experienced, and reliable electricians, we know we can make your home safe as can be. Contact us today to book your home electrical inspection this winter!