Are you planning to host a holiday dinner this year? What about whipping up some baked goods to share with family and friends? If any of your holiday plans involve cooking or baking, listen up: More kitchen fires occur around the holidays than during any other time of year.

If you’re not keen on becoming part of that statistic, then it’s imperative that you understand how to protect yourself from electrical mishaps in the kitchen. To help you out, the electricians at Harrison Electric share valuable holiday cooking safety tips below.

Always Use GFCI Outlets Near Water Sources

Ground-fault circuit interrupter outlets are designed to protect against electrical shock by detecting minor variations in electrical current. When the outlet detects an unacceptable level of current, it immediately shuts down power flow to the receptacle, thereby preventing electrical overload and shock. This is why it’s so important to plug small kitchen appliances into GFCIs whenever you use them near any type of water source.

If you don’t have GFCI outlets in your kitchen, you should. But if your house was built before 1987, electrical code did not yet mandate their installation. Today, however, the NEC requires all outlets within six feet of a sink to be GFCIs. To avoid electrical injuries (or worse, fires) in the kitchen, contact an electrician to schedule outlet replacements if your kitchen lacks GFCI outlets.

Test Smoke Detectors

The holidays aren’t the only time you should test your smoke detectors, but if you plan on doing plenty of holiday cooking, there’s no better time for this test. Not sure how to test a smoke detector? It’s easy! All you need to do is hold down the test button on the device. You might need to wait a couple of seconds, but the detector should begin emitting its usual ear-piercing siren. If it doesn’t, or if the sound seems weak, remove the batteries and replace them.

Ensure Appliances Are in Proper Working Order

Even if you use your cooking appliances regularly, certain problems can fly under the radar and you may not notice them until it’s too late. But with a little inspecting, you can usually detect potential electrical issues that could cause a kitchen disaster. Here’s what you need to look for:

●        Signs of physical damage, such as dents, melted plastic, or scorch marks

●        An off-putting scent when you turn on any of your appliances

●        Appliances that won’t turn on or that shut down suddenly

●        Louder-than-normal operating noises

●        Unusually slow preheating

You know how your appliances typically operate, so if you notice anything seems amiss, avoid using that appliance until you’ve had the issue thoroughly examined by a licensed electrician. And don’t forget: Never leave a hot appliance unattended! 

Unplug Unused Appliances

Whenever you’re not actively using small kitchen appliances, unplug them. Even when these devices are not actively engaged, they still consume power from the outlet they’re plugged into. And when you draw too much electrical current at a single location in your home, you can trip a breaker, shock yourself, or even start a fire.

If you deal with tripped breakers on a regular basis, that’s not normal. Rather, frequent interruptions in electrical flow indicate that your household wiring or electrical panel is outdated, damaged, or improperly installed. To protect yourself, your loved ones, and your home, schedule a system inspection with a licensed electrician before you begin your holiday cooking marathon. 

Harrison Electric: Your Minneapolis Source for Comprehensive Electrical Service

At Harrison Electric, we take pride in providing Twin Cities residents with outstanding electrical service. Since 1985, we’ve proudly served the metro area with comprehensive electrical repair, component replacement, and new installation. We also provide 24/7 emergency electrical service so we can be there when you need us most. To schedule a service appointment or request a service quote, give us a call today at 763-544-3300 or contact us online, and we’ll be in touch.