Winter is a wonderful time of year with all the holidays, snow days, and cozy fireside chats. We rely on electricity to keep us warm and comfortable inside our homes. With the increased demand for power in winter, you also have an increased risk of electrical injuries and fires. Avoid electrical mishaps by following these six electrical safety tips for winter.

1. Have Your Electric System Checked

Over time, your home’s electrical system can wear out and present safety hazards. Avoid a damaging, potentially life-threatening electrical fire by hiring a licensed electrician to inspect your home’s electrical system. This is especially true if you live in an older home.

An electrician can ensure your wiring and sockets aren’t worn out or damaged and adhere to the latest building codes. This includes outdated fuse boxes and faulty electrical panels.

2. Be Familiar With Your Circuit Panel

All adults and older children in the household should be familiar with your home’s circuit panel, including its basic function and location. Everyone should know how to shut the breakers down quickly when needed. If the panel is located in a closet or basement, make sure nothing is blocking access to the panel. Check to see that the breakers are functioning properly and clearly labeled.

There seems to be a rising demand for electricity in homes, including smart systems and an ever-growing variety of electronics and mobile devices. The demand for electricity can outgrow the electric panel. If you find your circuit panel malfunctioning or you have frequent tripper breakers, contact us about an upgrade.

3. Be Careful With Space Heaters

The National Fire Protection Association reports that heating equipment is the cause of around 12.5% of all house fires. One of the culprits is space heaters. These devices are great for heating individual rooms and helping you stay warm in large rooms on cold days, but they can be dangerous. By following best practices, you can stay safe and cozy.

Keep them on level surfaces, and never use an extension cord or power strip. Make sure to plug them into an outlet. Also, check the space heater’s cord frequently for damage. Never leave a space heater unattended. Watch children and pets around them closely, and turn them off before going to bed.

4. Watch Out for Downed Power Lines

High winds and heavy ice and snow can break tree branches that fall on power lines. This can lead to power outages and house fires. If you see a downed power line, stay at least 30 feet away to avoid serious injury. Call 911 immediately and report the situation.

If you have trees on your property, you can help avoid downed power lines by having branches trimmed back in late summer or fall. You’ll be protecting your roof at the same time. Look for damaged, rotting limbs hanging near the house or power lines.

5. Use Surge Protectors

In winter, using appliances, space heaters, and other devices can strain your electrical outlets. Additionally, winter storms can cause power outages, sending a power surge through the neighborhood. These power spikes damage electronics and appliances.

Placing a surge protector in each outlet your TV, computers, and appliances plug into can help. Better yet, consult a licensed electrician about installing a whole-home surge protector. These are installed at the control power and block surges from entering your home’s electrical circuitry. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your appliances and electronics are safe, helping you avoid electrical mishaps.

6. Prevent Roof Leaks

Both water and electricity are necessary for a comfortable, livable home, but the two should never meet. As part of winter home preparations, it’s important to make sure your roof is in good condition. Melted snow and ice could cause a damaged roof to leak water into your home and enter your sockets or electrical panels. Keep gutters clear to prevent potential ice dams.

Also, check your water heater and any other equipment for leaks. Make sure your water pressure isn’t high enough to burst pipes.

Let the professionals at Montgomery's Industrial Services in Wingham help you stay safe this winter. We service electrical panels and install surge protectors, generators, and electrical systems. We can also perform furnace repair, installation, and maintenance. You can depend on us for your winter plumbing needs, too. And when warm days return, call us for AC repairs, maintenance, and installation.

Paul Montgomery


Paul Montgomery is the president of Montgomery's Industrial Services. Paul has been in the business since 1992.
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