The holidays are just around the corner. Large meals, desserts, and homemade snacks keep the kitchen busy. Visiting family and friends often leads to increased use of all household utilities. Christmas lights and other decorations can put added strain on a home’s electrical system. Preparing for holiday activities offers a great opportunity to consult an electrician to inspect your home in Irving, TX.
Almost half of all residential fires start in the kitchen. Many of these fires are related to kitchen appliances, which may be working overtime during the holidays. A combination of electrical wiring, numerous outlets, water and other sources of moisture, cooking oil, and a wide range of large and small appliances may create risky situations. An electrician can identify potential problems and make sure your electrical system is in good working order so your family can enjoy peace of mind over the holidays.
Flickering Lights and Bulbs
Sometimes warning signs can indicate an electrical problem before a major incident occurs. Flickering lights shouldn’t be ignored. Make sure the bulb is screwed in tightly. If that doesn’t work, replace the bulb with a new one. You may have a loose connection if the new bulb doesn’t work correctly. Call your local electrician to repair the light fixture and check for other issues.
Light bulbs that burn out too quickly may be another warning sign. The problem may be high wattage, a light left on too long, a poor quality bulb, or too much electrical power for the bulb to handle. High-quality replacement bulbs that can manage higher voltage may fix the problem.
Unfortunately, criminals may target homes around the holidays when people are traveling and high-value items may be within easy reach. Hire an electrical company to install outdoor safety and security lighting to discourage potential burglars.
Plugging a device or appliance into an outlet may cause sparks. This is fairly common, but sparks aren’t always harmless. An excessively hot outlet can melt protective coatings on wires. Current traveling through bare wire poses a serious fire risk. Sparking outlets should be evaluated and repaired by an electrician.
Always give non-functional outlets appropriate attention. Check other outlets immediately. If you find many non-functioning outlets, check with neighbors to see if they’re having problems. Non-functioning outlets in multiple homes are usually a problem with the power company. However, one or two faulty outlets just in one home probably mean the problem is within the outlets themselves. Check for scorch marks and discoloration around the outlet and call an electrical company for a replacement. Outdoor outlets need attention too. Holiday lights outside your home can be hazardous if exterior outlets aren’t up to code. Every outlet at risk of water exposure needs to have ground fault circuit interrupters or GFCI.
Circuit Breakers and Damaged Wires
An occasional circuit breaker trip doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. A power surge, perhaps caused by a power outage, may also cause tripped circuit breakers. Short circuits, which are electric currents traveling on unintended paths, are another potential cause. Frequent trips could mean the circuit breaker is overloaded. Try to figure out the wattage of all appliances running at the same time and try distributing them among different outlets. If this doesn’t work, contact an electrician to upgrade your electrical panel so it can handle larger loads.
Damaged and frayed wire are risk factors for fires and electrocution. Black or brown stains and a burning smell may be signs of damaged wires. Buzzing sounds and foul odors coming from an outlet are also danger signs. Properly functioning outlets and appliances don’t have an odor and operate quietly. Loose prongs and damaged outlets can produce continuous or sporadic buzzing. Call an electrician immediately if you notice frayed wires or buzzing noises.
Carbon Monoxide and Fires
Although electrical problems and fires can happen at any time of year, the winter months present extra challenges. Carbon monoxide poisoning is more common during winter because the clear, odorless gas is produced by incomplete combustion. More house fires occur between December and February than at any other time of year. Furnaces and water heaters can produce carbon monoxide. This becomes especially dangerous when a home is sealed tightly to keep cold temperatures out.
The holidays may add even more risk factors of carbon monoxide poisoning or fires due to increased use of space heaters, candles, extension cords, and dry Christmas trees. Live trees can be a fire risk because dry pine needles and branches are ideal kindling for a fire. Try spritzing leaves with small amounts of water to increase moisture and make sure the tree isn’t placed near anything that produces a lot of heat. Never leave Christmas lights on when you’re leaving the house or going to bed.
Make sure your home in Irving, TX is equipped with a working carbon monoxide alarm, especially if the furnace runs on natural gas or oil. Gases should exit the home through proper ventilation, but maintenance is necessary to make sure vents are clear and working correctly. An electrician can examine carbon monoxide detectors and check ventilation during a safety inspection. Installing and testing fire alarms is also an important safety measure.
Most people have heard of surge protectors, but did you know that whole-house surge protectors exist? These surge protectors protect all of your home’s electrical devices, appliances, and HVAC equipment during surges that may occur during winter storms. Your local electrician can install whole-house protectors and check to make sure they’re working correctly during inspections.
Contact Tioga Contractors in Irving, TX, to schedule an electrical safety inspection. Experienced electricians can evaluate your home’s electrical wiring and components and check monitors and alarms to help your family stay safe and happy this holiday season.
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