During the cooler months, utility bills and fender benders are not the only things that spike. Unfortunately, the number of electrical fires also increases. According to the Toronto Fire Services Annual Report 2018, 8% of all residential fires in Toronto were electrical related. Electrical fires can seriously damage your home and put your family’s safety at risk. Are you experiencing flickering lights or circuit breakers tripping ? It may be time to call a professional electrician. Also, check out the below 5 tips to prevent electrical fires during the winter season.

5 Tips to Prevent Electrical Fires During the Winter Season

1.  Get your HVAC equipment routinely serviced.

It’s important to routinely inspect and service your furnace or boiler. This ensures that the electrical components are functioning properly, and the overall system properly cleaned.

2. Be cautious with space heaters to Help Prevent Electrical Fires

Many homes and some businesses, especially offices with notorious “cold spots”, use space heaters. If you’re going to use a space heater, then ensure that you keep it away from flammable materials. Furthermore, you should power your space heater with a dedicated circuit. Remember, by law you must only hire a contractor that is licensed to provide residential and commercial electrical services.

3. Inspect generators each year prior to use.

Generators are invaluable for powering homes and businesses during outages. Power outages can last a few minutes, several hours, or even days. This was the case during Toronto’s epic ice storm in 2013. More recently, in April 2018, about 120,000 Hydro One customers lost power. If you’re using a generator, it’s essential to have it inspected every year prior to use. This should be done by a company that is licensed to provide residential and commercial electrical services. Even old fuel can be a potential fire hazard.

4. Make sure all appliances use dedicated circuits.

All appliances, such as ovens, ranges, refrigerators and microwaves, should be plugged into dedicated circuits. This helps prevent the risk of overloads that can trigger electrical fires. In addition, all outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry areas, and basements should be equipped with GFCIs, and tested regularly.

5. Never leave stoves unattended when cooking.

Last but not least, many electrical fires throughout the year (not just in winter) result from unattended stoves. “Unattended” does not just mean leaving the stove on while taking a quick trip to the grocery store or walking the dog. It also means taking a shower, shoveling show, or doing something else where the stove is not within view.

Langstaff & Sloan Inc. has been providing professional electrical contracting services in the GTA since 1991.

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