As cooler weather begins to prevail here in southern Oregon, more and more people are seeking alternative ways to stay warm and cozy. Unfortunately, many of these methods pose a heightened fire risk – in fact, there are more home fires during the coldest months than at any other time of year. During the cooler season, it’s important to be aware of the risks so you can prevent the worst from happening.
To help, we’ve identified the four most common fire hazards for fall and winter:
- Space heaters. One of the most common methods of heating your home without cranking up the furnace is also the most risky. Space heaters can catch fire due to electrical short or cause house fires when situated too close to flammable objects like bedding, curtains, upholstery, or furniture. In fact, over half of fires caused by home heating result from space heaters – keep yours at least three feet away from other objects and turn it off when unattended.
- Electric blankets and heating pads. While these items can help keep your bed warm and toasty without the need to adjust the thermostat, they are also a fire risk. Unfortunately, hundreds of fires each year are caused by old or worn out electric blankets. Be sure yours is in good working condition and toss out any with frayed wiring; in addition, avoid piling other blankets on top of your electric blanket and switch it off when you’re not using it.
- Overloaded outlets. Whether you’re plugging in external heating sources or simply decorating for the upcoming holidays, overloaded outlets pose a serious fire risk. Plugging too many items into one extension cord can cause it, or the outlet it’s associated with, to overheat. Eventually, this extra energy could cause a fire.
- Generators. While a properly installed generator is extremely safe, attempting to install your own without knowledge of the proper specifications and setup can be dangerous. Worse, some homeowners try to plug in an electric generator indoors, or run a fuel-powered generator inside, which can result in electrocution or carbon monoxide poisoning, respectively. Be sure to have your generator installed by a skilled professional electrician.
All of the above fire hazards can be addressed by a team of trained electricians, such as the professionals at Winters Electric. If you’re having trouble keeping warm this winter, don’t hesitate to schedule a service call to address your outlets, install your new generator, or inspect your home’s wiring. Contact Winters Electric online or call (541) 664-4505 for 24/7 emergency service.