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Electrical Safety Tips for Winter 2021

Stay Warm and Safe When It’s Cold Outside

Winter in New South Wales often means cold nights spent in front of an electrical fire or heater but, according to Fire and Rescue NSW, 40% of fires are caused by faulty electrical appliances. With this in mind, how do we keep our home and family safe this winter? Here are our top tips:

Space Heaters

Space heaters are a go-to for people in the winter, especially for those without a fireplace. However, they can potentially cause issues if not properly used or supervised.

  • Ensure your space heater is on a level surface. Surfaces like tiles or hardwood floors are best, always avoid putting your space heater on the carpet.

  • Keep it at least 1m from flammable or combustible objects like furniture, curtains, paper, oil, paint, or plastic items.

  • Supervise your space heater around pets and children.

  • Never leave it on while sleeping or unattended with children or pets.

  • Regularly check your space heater for damage such as frayed wires or odd smells.

  • To avoid overloading your circuits, do not plug your space heater into an extension power board.

Electric Blankets

Electric blankets can make your bed lovely and cosy for cold nights but always remember the following, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully:

  • Check if your electric blanket is an over blanket (used above the bed occupant) or an under blanket (used below the bed occupant).

  • Ensure your electric blanket is properly laid out flat and not damaged in any way.

  • Never keep your electric blanket on all night.

  • Never leave it unsupervised.

  • Do not let pets climb on or claw at the blanket.

  • Never touch the blanket with wet hair, hands, or feet.

  • Do not use the blanket for infants, pets, or people with a disability that would give them difficulty handling, or getting out from under, an electric blanket.

Circuit Boards

To prevent overloading the electrical outlets, which is a major cause of winter fires, a good rule of thumb is to only put one high-wattage board into each wall outlet. If a circuit is overloaded it could cause the insulation to burn, sparks to fly, and unprotected wires to be exposed.

An easy fix is to just look for other outlets to spread out the voltage amongst rooms but avoid the temptation of using an extension lead—that’s just a short-term fix!

Generators

In preparation for potential storms, some people like to have a portable generator in case of an emergency. A generator would provide enough electricity until the power can come back but can also be dangerous if not properly used. Here are some safety tips for generators:

  • Fill your generator with fuel but be careful not to overfill the tank.

  • Check the oil level is correct.

  • Ensure the generator’s voltage matches the power outlet.

  • A dedicated power circuit is highly recommended so that only the wattage required is used.

  • Only run your generator outside, in a well-ventilated area. Generators emit carbon monoxide which can cause carbon monoxide poisoning that can be fatal.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that can be fatal in high concentrations and causes irreparable damage at lower amounts. Typically, CO poisoning happens more often in winter since people turn to burning coal, turf or using gas in generators or camp stoves.

It is very important that you have a CO detector installed to improve your home security system. After all, it could end up saving your life!

A CO detector should be installed on each floor of your home at knee-level (unlike a smoke alarm which is on the ceiling). Once you have a CO detector installed ensure to test it monthly and keep it clean by wiping it down with a cloth.

Overgrown Trees and Bushes

Overgrown trees and bushes can be problematic when it comes to storms or high winds. The responsibility goes to your local utility company to trim trees as they could potentially fall onto nearby power lines which could result in a power outage throughout the neighbourhood or a fire. There is also the hazard of electrocution to those in gardens, driveways, and footpaths.

Surge Protectors

Since most people will be using more appliances throughout the winter months, you will be needing more room for outlets, this is where a surge protector comes into use.

A surge protector works by passing an electric current through an outlet into a power strip. If the voltage spikes, then the surge protector will divert extra electricity into the outlets. It is useful when you want to protect your electronic devices such as your computer or game consoles, a surge protector is the best solution.

Get A Professional to Check Your Outlets and Safety System

Checking your wires, plugs, outlets, and sockets can be an overwhelming and dangerous task. A professional electrician would be able to check all of these throughout your home, make any fixes needed and ensure your safety for the winter months. They will also be able to address any electrical or safety concerns you may have and spot potential dangers that you may miss yourself.

For A Winter Safety Inspection, Contact Real Electrical Solutions

This winter, Real Electrical Solutions wants you to be as safe as possible. You and your family can be better protected against the chances of an electrical fire breaking out in your house if you follow the winter electrical safety recommendations given above.

Want to feel even more secure about keeping yourself and your family safe this winter? Winter safety checks are provided by our Level 2 ASP Certified electricians in Newcastle, Maitland, the Central Coast, the Hunter Valley, and the surrounding areas. To find out more, just visit us online at realelectricalsolutions.com.au or, to make an appointment, call us as soon as you can on 0403 306 842.

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