Electrical Safety Tips for the Holidays

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During the holiday season, it’s important to enjoy time spent with family and friends. It is also the time of year where most Canadians are using a lot of electricity with additional Christmas lights on, the furnace running, spacer heaters on, the stove cooking dinner, plugging in your vehicles so they start and all the new gadgets getting plugged in for us or charging. Here are Terry Becker’s Top 5 Tips this Holiday season to stay “electrically safe”.

1. Don’t use damaged extension cords

Whether it’s because you were shovelling the snow or pulling too hard on the extension cord, sometimes the cord gets damaged. If your extension cord is damaged at the plug or the sheathing, do not use the cord because when it is damaged you may get an electric shock. Repairing the cord with electrical tape is not allowed and will not ensure that it is safe to use the cord in the long run.

2. Use timers on outdoor lights

Using timers for your outdoor holiday lights is not only a great way to ensure that they are on before you’re home,
but also ensures that you’re environmentally conscious as it will also shut off the lights before you go to bed saving you money on your power bill. You won’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to plug or unplug the lights.

3. Don’t plug in more than one space heater into an outlet

Whether it’s at home or in the office, outlets can only handle one portable space heater. As soon as you plug-in that second one you’ll trip the breaker. Most home outlets are rated for only a single 12 amp or 1500 watt load. Check your space heater and any other electrical device that you’re plugging to ensure it doesn’t exceed this rating rating.

4. Plug-in your outdoor lights to GFCI outlets

Most modern houses have GFCI outlets on the exterior of your home to plug-in holiday lights, and other electrical equipment. The benefit of a GFCI outlet is electric shock protection for you when using portable cord-and-plug connected electrical equipment in an indoor or outdoor environment.

This is especially true around wet environments, which is where you’ll find GFCI outlets in kitchens, bathrooms and of course, on the outside of your house. The GFCI outlet trips when there is an electrical current on an unintended path, such as through water. Considering it’s winter and there’s always snow around the corner, make sure you always plug your holiday lights into GFCI outlets.

5. Hit that test and reset button

While we’re on the topic of GFCI outlets, think of hitting that test and reset button before you plug-in your device. You want the GFCI to work to protect you from being electrocuted should there ever be an electrical fault. If you accidentally drop that new shaver into water, you won’t be electrocuted. Consider doing this in the bathrooms in your house and on outside outlets at least once a month or ask your family or guests to test the GFCI before they use the outlet.

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