Top 5 Electrical Safety Tips for Winter in Florida
Northeast Florida has been feeling the chill lately and we're not even into our traditionally coldest month, January! Here's how to make sure you've properly prepared your home for the cold weather.
Check Electrical Wires and Cords
Take a look at appliance power cords and extension cords you use throughout your home. If there are any frayed or exposed wires, they should be replaced on appliances and the extension cords should be discarded. Though most people love their extension cords, they are designed for short-term use. If you use a lot of them, talk to your electrician about installing some additional outlets.
Use Surge Protectors
Home electrical fires account for over 50,000 fires each year resulting in nearly 1500 injuries, 1.3 billion in property damage, and approximately 500 deaths. Electrical receptacles are involved in more than 5,000 fires each year and cause 40 deaths.
Surge protectors are an essential electrical safety feature for computers, mobile devices, appliances, and entertainment centers. To ensure they're working correctly and keeping your equipment safe:
- Only purchase UL or ETL-certified models
- Regularly check them to see if they're running hot and have "room to breathe."
Keep in mind that surge protectors are designed to protect against electrical surges, not to give you 5-10 extra outlets. Overloading a surge protector can trip a circuit breaker or blow a fuse.
Upgrade Your Lighting
Proper light bulb safety keeps this common electrical fixture from becoming a hazard. Be sure to use the correct wattage bulb for each fixture and consider switching to more efficient bulbs that provide the same level of light at a lower wattage level. Bulbs should be screwed in tightly, as loose ones can cause sparks or shorts. And don't forget to unplug a fixture before swapping out the bulb.
Don't Overload Your Outlets
Every plug needs an outlet, but overloading can cause shorts and fires. To keep outlets safe:
- Do not overload them with multiple power strips.
- Never put anything into an outlet except the appropriate size plug.
- Block unused outlets with solid cover plates or by using childproof caps.
- Properly cover all outlets with plates so no wires are exposed.
- Install GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, outlets in potentially unsafe areas like kitchen, bathroom, unfinished basements, and near pools.
Invest in a Generator
Backup electrical power is a great addition to any preparedness plan. A backup generator operates as a stand-alone power source and is typically fueled by gas, propane, or diesel. Some units now get their power from solar. A good whole house backup generator keeps the lights on, helps keep appliances running, and powers essential equipment and electronic devices during an outage.
Stay Safe This Winter
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission puts out a free home electrical safety checklist that can help keep your Jacksonville FL home and your family safe. This room-by-room guide allows you to identify possible electrical safety issues before they occur.