How to Avoid Common Electrical Problems This Winter

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As you string up holiday lights, crank up your thermostat, and plug in an electric blanket to warm your bed at night, home electrical systems have a heavy load to bear during colder months. To efficiently heat your home this winter, you need to address certain electrical issue that might endanger your family. Here are the most common electrical problems that occur during wintertime and what you can do to solve them.

Problem #1: Overburdened Electrical Circuits
After the temperature drops, your heating system works overtime to keep your home warm and your pipes from freezing. Holiday decorations and portable heaters add more strain to the electrical system. Signs that your electrical circuit is overburdened include flickering lights and regularly tripping the breaker. If you find your system is overloaded, you should adjust your energy consumption or increase amperage coming into your home.

Evaluate Power Consumption & Adjust
Washer, dryer, kitchen appliances — once these machines hit ten years old, you are due for replacements. Old appliances can draw a lot of power, even if they aren’t on. Most of the year you might not notice this, but choosing energy-efficient replacements will make the holidays smoother and reduce your utility bills during the rest of the year.

Problem #2: Old Space Heaters & Electric Blankets
Many people use a small portable heater to keep a room cozy without spiking the gas bill. However, most space heaters are big electricity consumers. When you haul out the space heater and electric blanket, inspect the cords and blanket edges for fraying or tears. As a rule of thumb, it is best to replace these items every five years due to wear.

Space Heater Safety
Extension cords pose a major fire risk when used with space heaters because it is harder to trip the circuit breaker when they overheat. Prevent electrical fires caused by space heaters by following these easy rules:

• Always plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet (never use with an extension cord or power strip).
• Always unplug the space heater when it is not in use and when you leave the room.
• Make sure your heater has an automatic shut-off feature for if it falls over.
• Regularly inspect cord for fraying or wear. Replace your heater if you find damage.
• Consider having a new outlet installed if your cord doesn’t reach where you need it.

Problem #3: Electrical Fire Risks
Improving home safety is an ongoing battle for most homeowners. Here are a few red flag areas to monitor for electrical problems during winter.

Damaged Holiday Lights
Whenever you unpack holiday decor, take time to look for damage and signs of wear and age to your holiday lights. If you discover damage, it is best to replace these items and not risk a failed DIY repair job or shocking yourself as you hang the lights. Read the warning tags to know how many strings of light can be safely strung together.

Keep Christmas Trees Away From Heat
Keep your Christmas tree (both artificial and fresh) at least three feet away from all heat sources, including fireplaces and space heaters. If you buy a real tree for Christmas, plan to discard it the day after Christmas or when it becomes dry to prevent an electrical fire.

Work with a Qualified Electrician
As you decorate and heat your home for the holiday season, turn to the professional electricians you can trust. If you have doubts about your electrical system or feel uncomfortable performing HVAC maintenance yourself, call the licensed electricians at John C. Flood for an assessment before the cold weather kicks into high gear.

John C FloodWith more than 100-years of experience serving the DMV area, John C. Flood provides excellent plumbing, air conditioning, heating, and electrical services! Their experience, expertise, and reliability make them the area’s go-to for homeowners and renters needing maintenance, repair, and service on a variety of HVAC and plumbing needs!

Plus, it’s easy to book an appointment online, and John C. Flood will put you on their convenient list of check-up customers, so you’ll always have regular inspections and catch plumbing problems before they grow! Call them today at (703) 752-3901 and mention "DULLES" for 15% off your first service call!

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