A publication of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives

Home | REC | Safeguard Your Home for Winter

Safeguard Your Home for Winter

Ensure carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working properly. If your detectors are battery-operated, replace the batteries annually. Test the detectors once a month and give them a good dusting to ensure the sensors are clear of dirt and debris.

Inspect electrical cords. We depend on more cords during winter, whether for holiday lighting, extension cords or portable heaters. Before using any corded items, double check to make sure cords aren’t frayed or cracked. If you use portable space heaters, remember to keep them at least 3 feet away from flammable items. Use models that include an auto shut-o feature and overheat protection. Space heaters can take a toll on your energy bills. Use them efficiently (to heat smaller spaces) and safely. Never plug a space heater into a power strip. Speaking of power strips …

Avoid overloading electrical outlets and power strips. When overloaded with electrical items, outlets and power strips can overheat and catch fire. If you use power strips for multiple devices, make sure the strip can handle the electrical load. For a safer bet, look for power strips that include surge protection.

Clean the fireplace to improve safety and efficiency. There’s nothing better than a warm fire on a chilly night, but it’s important to maintain your fireplace for safety. As wood burns, a sticky substance known as creosote builds up in the chimney. When creosote buildup becomes too thick, a chimney fire can ignite. The chimney should be cleaned at least once a year to reduce fire risks. Regular cleaning also improves air flow and limits the amount of carbon monoxide that seeps indoors.

Practice safety in the kitchen. As we spend more time in the kitchen during the holiday season, be mindful of potential fire hazards. Never leave food that’s cooking on the stovetop unattended. Clean and remove spilled foods from cooking surfaces and be mindful of where you place flammable items like dish towels.

Take care when using a generator. Always isolate your generator from REC’s power lines. Connect appliances or other devices directly to the generator with the appropriate cords. If you connect it directly to your building’s wiring, a transfer, double-throw switch is required to separate your generator from the Co-op’s system. Need assistance with properly installing a generator? REC has expanded its Electrical Services to meet the growing needs of member-owners. Our skilled electricians stand ready to serve you today. Visit myrec.coop/electrical_services.