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Preventing Holiday Electrical Problems

The holiday season is upon us and with the festivities of the season come increased risks for home electrical problems and even fires. House fires represent a significant portion of fire department responses this time of year. Many of these fires are caused by fireplaces and wood burning stoves, but many are a result of preventable electrical malfunctions and negligence with electrical accessories.

Electrical devices are, by far, the largest contributor to home fires during the holiday season. Portable electric heaters and other everyday electrical devices are some of the most culpable when it comes to fires and damage to homes throughout the holidays. Here are some helpful tips to prevent home electrical malfunctions this holiday season.

Avoid Overloading Circuits

This is a common cause of damaged appliances and electronics. When a lot of electronic devices are connected to a single outlet, the circuit is strained, and overload is common. During the holidays, with the combination of lights and other electronic accessories, not to mention all of the electronic devices we run constantly, overloading a circuit is pretty common. Because of this, taking basic precautions with holiday lights and accessories is important for safety.

Beyond simply overloading an outlet with devices, the electric wiring in your home may be a factor in circuit malfunction. Some circuits may be supplying power to numerous outlets. If the strain on the circuit is large enough, it can overload and cause damage to connected devices. Plug devices into multiple outlets using a power strip and surge protector. If you suspect a wiring problem, the wiring may need to be distributed across multiple circuits by a professional electrician.

Take Care with Cords

Be careful where you place and run extension cords. Rugs and other obstructions running over or placed nearby cords and outlets are a fire hazard. Anything that could catch fire should be removed away from any cords, outlets, and wires. Putting up decor during the holiday season typically requires using an often chaotic arrangement of extension cords, outlets, and power strips to power all of the lights and accessories. Because of this, you should be vigilant about where cords and other electrical accessories are located and take precautions to relocate certain hazardous items.

Use Surge Protectors

Power surges, while mostly rare, can damage or destroy electronic devices, appliances, and potentially damage your home’s wiring. Install surge protectors to help guard against this risk to home electrical systems and appliances from high voltage surges. These devices can be installed on individual outlets or as entire home protection systems.

Surge protectors cannot prevent a power surge from affecting your home, but they can protect individual devices from damage or destruction. A good idea is to look for a surge protector power strip to protect multiple devices plugged into a single outlet. During the holidays, taking extra precautions to protect your home electrical wiring, lighting, and devices is extremely important.