According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), the leading cause of house fires in the United States are electrical, with nearly half involving space heaters or other heating sources. But there are other electrical safety tips that can help prevent fires from occurring and minimize accidents from happening. 

Wintertime Electrical Safety Tips

Electrical safety tips are pretty straightforward. With a little knowledge and some common sense, you’ll be more than prepared to safety-proof your home to avoid fire hazards and keep your family safe during the winter months. 

  • Don’t Leave Space Heaters Unattended – This is probably the most straightforward of all electrical safety tips. Never, under any circumstances, should you leave a space heater turned on and left unattended. They can overheat, tip over, or experience an electrical surge. All of which can create a fire hazard and needs to be monitored when in operation. Make sure to turn your space heaters off when you’re not in the room or you leave the home. 
  • Always Plug Space Heaters Directly Into a Wall Outlet – It is strongly recommended to plug your space heaters or stand-alone heating devices directly into the wall. Space heaters require a steady and strong electrical current to work correctly. That means never plugging them into an extension cord or power strip, as they are not equipped to handle that level of electrical output. 
  • Monitor Electrical Outlets and Usage – Never overload electrical outlets. It will not only cause your breaker box to trip but it could damage your home’s wiring which in turn could lead to electrical fires should wiring become singed or compromised. Do not plug in more than one power strip into a single outlet no matter how convenient it may seem. 
  • Keep Flammable Items Away From Heat Sources – Never place a space heater on a flammable surface or near flammable objects. Avoid placing a space heater on carpeted surfaces, particle board cabinets, near curtains, or throw blankets that are hanging off of the couch or chairs. Give at least a 3-4 foot clearance between the heater and any flammable surfaces or objects. 
  • Mark Outdoor Extension Cords for Outdoor Use – Outdoor extension cords and power strips should be visibly marked and labeled. Outdoor power strips typically have 3-prongs. They are more durable and have additional insulation to protect wires and plugs from water and moisture. Outdoor extension cords also can handle extreme exposure to sunlight and other weather elements. Never use indoor extension cords outside. The risk for electrical shock is amplified. 
  • Know the Terms of Your Home Warranty Your home warranty will protect you in the event your electrical system fails due to wear and tear. Basic coverage should include the following: 
  • Wiring 
  • Electrical Boxes 
  • Breaker Boxes
  • Circuits 
  • Fuses 
  • Switches 
  • Exhaust Fans 
  • Protect Electrical Cords – Ensuring that you keep your electrical cords out of harm’s way is an important electrical safety tip. Don’t run electrical cords through doorways or sliding glass doors where they may become frayed, torn or damaged. Keep electrical cords out of reach from small children, dogs, cats or other animals that could chew on them. Safety-proof electrical outlets by placing special caps on outlets when not in use. 

Contact a Professional Electrician for Electrical Safety Tips and Inspections

Having your electrical systems routinely inspected is the first step in ensuring that your home remains safe this winter season. The expert electricians at Express Electrical can help with professional wiring, electrical repair, and lighting installation. Contact Express Electrical at 805-242-9564 for service in Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, or the Inland Empire.