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Home Maintenance Tips: What Should Be On My Winter Electrical Safety Checklist?


Winter is here, which means it’s time to prepare your home for colder weather. Homeowners must remain vigilant to beat back any potential winter hazards that could arise. One of their top concerns should be electrical safety. Keeping your home’s wiring in peak condition will not only keep you safe from potentially hazardous situations but can also help you save money by preventing costly repairs. In this blog post, we discuss essential tips for keeping your home's electrical system safe this winter season.

Common Causes of Electrical Problems During Winter

When it comes to faulty electrical systems during the winter, there are a few common causes to keep an eye out for, including:

  • Cold Temperatures – Cold weather can put a lot of strain on your home's wiring and cause the insulation around wires to start cracking. This can lead to exposed wires that are incredibly dangerous and could even start a fire. It's important to check all the wiring in your home regularly and replace any insulation that is cracked or damaged.
  • Electrical Surges – It's important to make sure that all outlets are GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protected. GFCI outlets trip when they sense a surge of electricity that could be caused by bad weather or malfunctioning wiring.
  • Water Damage – Water damage due to melting snow or ice can cause shorts in wiring or damage components of any appliances plugged into the system. To prevent this, check for any water leaks in pipes and make sure all gutters around the house are free from obstructions so that snowmelt runs away from the house instead of pooling up near power lines or outlets.
  • Rodents – Keep an eye out for rodents during the winter season because they often seek refuge in warm houses and may find their way into your electrical system, chewing on wiring and creating dangerous situations. If you notice any evidence of rodent activity around your home, call an exterminator immediately and have them check for signs of infestation inside your walls.

Winter Electrical Safety Checklist for Homeowners

Winter brings several dangers to the home, and they don't just have to do with slip-and-fall accidents or frozen pipes. Electrical safety should also be taken into consideration when preparing for the season. Faulty wiring and overloaded sockets can increase the risk of electrical fires or shocks from exposed wires. To ensure your family's safety, here are some tips on how to protect your home from electrical hazards:

  • Check for exposed wires and faulty wiring. Even if it looks like everything is in order, you should always inspect your electrical system for any loose connections or incompletely insulated wires that may create a hazardous situation. It’s especially important after severe weather events, as high winds can cause damage that’s not immediately visible. If you find any issues, get them addressed by an experienced electrician as soon as possible.
  • Use surge protectors when plugging in electronics and appliances. In areas where winter storms are common, power surges can be a major issue. Surge protectors will help protect sensitive electronics from power spikes that could potentially fry their internal components. Plugging all your devices into one single strip will also help reduce clutter on outlets, reducing the risk of an overload.
  • Don’t overload circuits or outlets with too many plugs at once—especially during periods of heavy usage. An overloaded circuit can easily overload a breaker and lead to a fire hazard or shock risk if left unchecked for too long of a period.
  • Test all ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in bathrooms and kitchens regularly to make sure they’re working properly. GFCIs can experience malfunctions due to moisture build-up over time or faulty wiring resulting from changes made by previous owners/tenants in those rooms (such as new lighting fixtures). GFCIs are designed to detect faults in electrical systems that occur when current is leaking from one line to another via contact with water or other conducting materials. GFCIs play an important role in protecting against shocks caused by wet hands while cooking or showering (among other potential scenarios).
  • Be sure to use outdoor extension cords safely during winter months. Pay extra attention to ensure they remain dry, so they don't become overloaded with electricity more quickly than normal. Being exposed to wetness over time can increase the chance an outdoor extension cord will short out. Keep your outdoor extension cords away from snow banks if possible, as this can lead to melting, which can further degrade their performance quality even further. In addition, exposure to melted snow can potentially lead to dangerous situations such as fires starting due to shorts occurring unexpectedly inside an outdoor extension cord’s insulation layers, which are meant for protection against exactly those sorts of occurrences.

Need help completing your winter electrical safety checklist? Contact Mel Carr Electric. We have been helping homeowners in Albany with their electrical safety, maintenance, installation, and repair needs since 1976. To learn more about Mel Carr Electric, and how our experienced electricians can help you, read our customers’ reviews and Code of Ethics.

Call us at (518) 500-3042 or reach out to us online today to discuss your electrical services needs with our experienced electricians in Albany. We offer upfront pricing and a satisfaction guarantee!

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