As the weather cools during the winter months, electricity usage in the home tends to increase as we spend more time indoors and seek to warm our homes with electrical appliances.
With more pressure on your home’s electrical system, the risk of faults, damage or fire increases, leading into winter is the perfect time to run some simple home maintenance checks, and cover off some basic safety tips!
Maintain Switchboards & Wiring
Switchboards guard against faults in a building’s electrical system, cutting electricity to faulty wiring if an electrical fault occurs – so if a switchboard isn’t maintained or functioning correctly, there is an increased risk of a significant fire occurring.
Watch out for warning signs of failing switchboards or wiring such as circuit-breakers and fuses going out regularly; dimming and flickering lights; buzzing, charred or discoloured outlets and switches; acrid burning smells, or any shocking occurring from switches and outlets.
If you notice any concerning signs, get a qualified electrician in to check your home immediately.
Check Appliances Regularly
Appliances like heaters and electric blankets should be checked as they are brought out of storage each season. It is also important to regularly check all appliances used in the home like irons, toasters, lamps and large appliances like dishwashers, ovens and fridges.
Carefully check cords, plugs and sockets to ensure they are in good condition and have no fraying or other damage – if not in good working order, replace them or have them repaired by an experienced and qualified technician.
Regularly clean appliances to prevent dust build-up, and always unplug appliances before storing, packing them away carefully ensuring cords are not bent or kinked.
Always follow manufacturer instructions for use. Such as using the right wattage of bulb for lighting; not placing appliances in areas with restricted airflow; not using heat-generating appliances in confined spaces or leaving them unattended, and keeping them at least one metre away from clothing, furniture and other flammable items.
Follow The ‘One Socket, One Appliance’ Rule
There have been many reports of fires starting from multiboxes – a lesson learnt the hard way for this Timaru family who lost their entire home and contents in a blaze started by a multibox.
The fire started while the owners were away from home, took 20 firefighters over three hours to put out, and was ignited by an iPhone charger plugged into a multibox in a bedroom.
Follow the ‘one socket, one appliance’ rule, and don’t overload power sockets with double adapters or multiboxes. If you have to use them, ensure you purchase good quality ones, with in-built circuit breakers.
Older homes have not necessarily been designed with our modern and digitally focused lifestyles in mind, so to cope with charging devices, beauty appliances and heaters, consider installing extra power points in strategic areas of your home like the bedrooms, living areas and bathrooms.
Switch It Off
One of the easiest ways to stay safe with electricity is to ensure it is switched off when not in use. If there are appliances like fans that you don’t use over winter, unplug these and store them safely.
Turn off unused gadgets, appliances and equipment when you go to bed at night, or head out for work during the day. If you have lights, heating or other electrical equipment on timers, ensure that these have been supplied, installed and checked by an experienced professional, and are kept well maintained.
Lastly, if you are planning a winter holiday, make sure that you only leave essential electronic equipment plugged in and running when you are away, and if possible, get a neighbour or relative to check on your home in your absence.
USE EXPERIENCED EXPERTS TO KEEP YOU SAFE THIS WINTER
With more than 40 years of experience providing electrical services in the Auckland region, French Electrical has a proven history of delivering quality craftsmanship and top-notch customer service.
Ready to book in some all-important maintenance or upgrades? Get in touch with us today for a no-fuss, no strings attached discussion on how we can best help you.