Get Ready for Winter
The clocks have now gone back and the nights are drawing in. Although we have been lucky with the weather so far, the colder weather is approaching so what steps should you take to make sure your house is safe and ready for the winter?
Electric Heaters – These are a quick and easy way of heating a room but must be used carefully. Make sure that your heater is on a level floor and has at least three feet of space around it. Never dry clothes on it or allow it to come into contact with soft furnishings. Check that the heater is in good condition including plugs and wires and don’t leave your heater unattended, particularly if you have children. Always switch the heater off when you go out or go to bed.
Electric Blankets – The UK does seem to love electric blankets, it is estimated that there are around 10 million in use in the UK. Before using your blanket, check it carefully for safety. Make sure that the plug and cord show no signs of damage, the fabric is not worn or frayed and there are no wires visible through the fabric. If you notice any burning smells or buzzing sounds when you switch it on, don’t use it. Also, never use a hot water bottle with your electric blanket and don’t touch it with wet skin or if the blanket itself is damp. It is worth getting your electric blanket checked every three years by a professional electrician such as Barton Electrical.
Heating System – It is a good idea to get your heating system serviced before the cold weather sets in but at the very least give it a trial run to check it is all working correctly.
Smoke Detectors – You should be checking your smoke alarms once per week already but if not, do this by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds. Batteries should be changed once per year and a couple of times per year, open the case and vacuum inside to remove dust or fluff. It is also worthwhile fitting carbon monoxide detectors in any rooms containing gas or paraffin heaters.
General Safety – Most of this is common sense but some of the common causes of house fires can easily be avoided. Never leave cookers unattended, unplug small devices such as mobile chargers, electrical Christmas decorations/lights etc whenever you leave the house or go to bed and never leave candles burning unattended.
The main electrical risk outside your home is garden or security lighting, particularly at this time of year when the evenings are darker. Here are some tips to make sure your outside lights are safe:
- Don’t try to install lights yourself, use a registered electrician such as Barton Electrical. As well as making sure your lights are installed properly, we will be able to offer you advice on the best types to use and how best to use them.
We are also happy to offer safety checks on existing lighting.
- All lights and fittings used outside must be weatherproof and waterproof especially those that are used in or near a water feature.
- Be wary of second hand lights or any that seem suspiciously cheap. Always buy good quality electrical equipment from a reputable supplier.
- Keep your lighting well maintained. Check the fittings, cables and connections regularly for damage and keep them free from dirt and leaves.
- Before touching your lights such as changing bulbs etc., switch off the power supply.
If in doubt, don’t take any chances, turn off the electricity at the mains and get it properly checked by a qualified electrician.
Some Additional Tips
Bad weather often results in power cuts so make sure you have torches, candles and matches to hand as well as warm blankets. A battery powered radio could also be useful as could a camping stove if you don’t have a gas hob. Make sure you know how to turn off your water, gas and electricity in case of an emergency. If you live in an area prone to flooding, be prepared.
If you are unsure about the safety of any of your electrical equipment, Ipswich based electrician Barton Electrical will be happy to check it for you so please get in touch – we love to help.