Winter Electrical Safety Tips for the Start of Autumn/Winter
As the seasons change, some appliances get more of a workout, and others get to sit back and take it easy for a while. Here are a few suggestions for simple electrical maintenance you can do at the beginning of Autumn/Winter.
- Before you put portable fans into storage, check that all the cords and plugs are sound and not frayed, and clean the dust off any covers or wire cages.
- Organise for your air-conditioners to be cleaned and serviced ready for next summer.
- Wind back the running time on your pool filter and ensure your pool blanket is firmly in place.
- Flick your ceiling fans from summer to winter setting. There is a little switch above the blades on most ceiling fans. When on S for summer, the blades draw the heat up away from the floor towards the ceiling. When on W for winter, the blades push the warm air from the roof and circulate it through the room. If you are heating your space, this little flick can make a load of difference to your power bill!
- Adjust your fridge and freezer thermostats. Winter and summer can both create havoc with your settings, so use a fridge thermometer to check that your freezer is running at -18°C and your fridge at 3°C.
- Test your electrical safety switch to make sure it is working.
- Check that your fire extinguishers and fire blankets are within their use-by date.
- Test your smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly.
Heaters, Electric Blankets & Heated Pet Bet Safety
- Before you plug in your electric blankets and heaters, check all the cords are solid and not frayed (especially the bit near the plug that sees the most wear and tear). If your cords are frayed or damaged, don’t risk it. Throw them out.
- Check electric blankets, rugs and heated pet beds to ensure the heating element is still solidly within the item and you can’t see any wires poking out before you use them.
- Look to see if there are any dislodged heating elements in space heaters before you turn them on.
- Regularly vacuum the back of space heaters and any filters to remove any dust build-up which can become a fire hazard if not removed.
- If you need to upgrade your portable heater, choose one that has an automatic off switch if tipped over or if it overheats.
- Keep portable heaters away from curtains, bedding, wet areas, high traffic areas or walkways. You need a minimum of 1 metre between your heater and any other object.
- Don’t run heater extension cords under carpets or rugs. Ideally, plug portable space heaters directly into the wall socket or power board, rather than use an extension cord.
- Electric space heaters draw a lot of power. Never double up on double adaptors or power boards. You can easily overload the circuit and start a fire.
- Always turn off your heater or electric blanket when not in use.
- Don’t put heavy items such as laundry baskets or suitcases on top of beds with electric blankets on them. They can break the wires, or can cause “hot spots” which can cause a fire if the blankets are turned on.
- Reverse cycle air conditioners are more effective than other forms of heating. It is time to retire your old oil heater as they tend to be heavy energy users.