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Fall Electrical Safety Tips

Posted on: October 17, 2013

The weather is starting to get cooler, and as summer rolls into fall, we thought we’d remind everyone of ways they can keep their homes safe from fires!

Check your smoke detectors—you should test your smoke detectors twice a year—once in the spring, once in the fall. In addition, remember that smoke detectors are designed to last 10 years. If yours is older than that, it’s highly recommended that you install a new one. New smoke detector laws that went into effect earlier this year require all new smoke detectors to have 10-year batteries, so you don’t have to worry about replacing the batteries along the way.

Check carbon monoxide (CO) detectors—having a smoke detector isn’t enough anymore; if you want to keep your family totally safe, you need to also install a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and highly toxic gas that can be deadly even in small amounts and can be released by any faulty gas appliance, including furnaces and fireplaces. Your best bet? Install a combination smoke alarm/carbon monoxide alarm for maximum protection.

Inspect your extension cords—with the holidays coming up, you’re going to want to make sure your extension cords are in good shape and not damaged or frayed. Any extension cords you’re planning on using outdoors should be weather-rated. Inside, make sure you use surge protectors and power strips with internal overload protection, and make sure you minimize the amount of adapters plugged into a single outlet.

Be careful with space heaters—space heaters are convenient, but can be a major fire hazard if you’re not careful with them. Make sure there is nothing flammable within three feet of the space heater, and never plug it into an extension cord.

Protect your outdoor electrical systems—any outdoor electrical outlets should be GFCI outlets and covered by a “bubble cover” to keep the elements out. If your electrical service cable is exposed, make sure it’s not damaged. During the holidays, don’t hang any decorations on or near the cable.

Install arc fault circuit interrupters—these are not required by building codes, but they offer a higher level of protection for your electrical system and are generally highly recommended. Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI) are designed to detect an unintended electrical arc and disconnect the power before an electrical fire can start.  They are the safest way to protect a home from the risk of electrical fire.

If you’re at all concerned with your home’s electrical safety this year, don’t take chances—call Kolb Electric! We can upgrade your home’s electrical service in any way you need, from installing smoke detectors and adding outlets to a full-on heavy up. Don’t gamble on fire safety—call Kolb Electric today!

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