How to protect your family against winter electrical hazards

7 tips to ensure the safety of your family and your home

Are you doing all you can to protect yourself and your family against winter electrical hazards? Many homeowners tend to underestimate winter electrical hazards; yet the rate of electrical accidents at home keeps increasing, perhaps due to lack of attention, time or knowledge.

Did you know that, according to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, there were more than 550 house fires registered since January 1st this year? Unfortunately, even the smallest mistake can sometimes become a major risk. That’s why following some basic guidelines is a great idea to prevent all these winter electrical hazards from happening.

Whether you leave your electric heater on, clog your power outlet or trip over an extension cord, danger lurks around every corner. That is why a careful look at your electrical devices will prevent all these winter electrical hazards from happening.

In this blog, we’ve put together a quick winter safety checklist to help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

1) Arrange an electrical safety inspection to check your home electrical equipment

When dealing with electricity, it is extremely important to take every safety measure. So why not start with an electrical safety inspection? This shows you whether the electrical circuits and appliances in your home are still in perfect working order, or if they need to be fixed ASAP.

Generally, during an inspection a licensed electrician will carry out assessments and test appliances, circuits, and outlets. They’ll then hand over a report showing you the potential risks they’ve found, along with recommendations and solutions to fix the issues.

An electrical safety inspection can bring you the peace-of-mind of keeping you and your family safe.

2) Check your smoke alarm systems

Are your smoke alarms still in good working order or are they just ceiling decorations? It’s important to make sure that you have a proper number of functional smoke alarms throughout your home to keep your family and your home safe at all times.

Changing the battery at least once a year is another “must do” on your winter electrical safety checklist. Not sure when the last time you changed the batter was? Try this – make April 1st the “check-and-replace-the-smoke-alarm-batteries” day.

With proper maintenance performed by your local electrician, you’ll know you can always rely on your smoke alarm.

3) Test your safety switches

Safety switches are crucial in your home. This apparently simple device can switch off the electricity in a circuit – in case of a fault – in as little as 0.3 seconds. That’s fast enough to save a life in the event of a domestic electrical accident.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland states that safety switches have been compulsory on the power outlet circuits of new homes since the early 1990s. Today, homes with electrical installation extended to include additional lighting and power point circuits must have safety switch protection on both lighting and power point circuits.

Play it safe with safety switches – have them tested by licensed electricians to ensure they’re keeping you and your family safe.

4) Pay attention to where you place electric heaters and light bulbs

Whether you choose a heat lamp or other types of electric heaters to keep you warm this winter, remember one thing: location, location, location! We recommend you place heaters in open spaces rather than enclosed areas such as under the desk, since placing heaters in enclosed spaces could lead to overheating and fire.

Similarly, keep light bulbs away from flammable materials such as plastics, drapes and bedding. For your safety, if you’re still using incandescent or halogen lights, think about upgrading them to the more energy-efficient CFL or LED lights.

Make sure light and heat don’t become winter electrical hazards, and find a safe spot to enjoy a cosy, bright atmosphere at home!

5) Remember water and electrical safety

We’ve known this by heart ever since we were little: water and electricity can NEVER mix! That’s why power points should be installed at a safe distance from water sources, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. If space doesn’t allow, then you might want to use outlet plug covers to prevent accidental contact or electric shocks.

6) Take extra safety measures for children

A very important thing we’d recommend is teaching your children about electrical safety at home. Explain to them how electricity works, so that they understand the possible dangers. And if you have babies crawling around the house, you know it’s time to childproof power outlets.

Remember: it’s never too soon to learn about electrical safety at home!

7) Leave enough space around electrical devices

It’s important to realise that every electrical appliance should have some empty space around it, so that its internal cooling system can work effectively. This applies not only to computers and TVs but also for microwaves, refrigerators or freezers.

So before you turn them on, inspect your electrical appliances carefully. Check for recommendations in the instruction manual and adjust their position properly.

Ask for advice from your local electrical expert

To ensure your safety, have a licensed, experienced electrician check your home’s wiring to see if there’s any damage. This way, they can perform accurate safety tests using their special equipment.

After you’ve done your part, let us deal with the rest of electrical issues you might have. Our team is dedicated to keeping your home safer, as well as making your life easier. So whatever electrical services you need to be done, call Jaric Electrical on 1300 452 742 or contact us online.