No one wants to think about the risk of a fire or other electrical disasters during the holidays. But the holiday season significantly increases electricity usage in most households, and that surge in usage naturally increases the risk for electrical hazards.

To help keep your home and family safe this holiday season, keep an eye out for the common electrical hazards below. If you notice anything unusual, call our Harrison Electric team right away. Our electricians are available 24/7 for emergency electrical repairs.

1. Space Heaters

Do you plan on using a few space heaters to keep your home comfortable for guests without driving up your heating bills? If so, make doubly sure you take the proper precautions when using these devices to minimize your risk of a house fire.

Even if you’re accustomed to using space heaters throughout winter, it’s a good idea to revisit safe-use guidelines each year, just to ensure you do everything right. Make sure you:

●        Never leave a space heater unattended.

●        Leave a three-foot radius of open space around each unit.

●        Avoid placing space heaters near upholstered objects or anything that may be flammable.

●        Plug heaters directly into a wall outlet, not an extension cord or power strip.

●        Have functional smoke alarms on each floor of your home.

For more space heater safety info, check out the National Fire Protection Association’s heating safety tips.

2. Overloaded Outlets or Electrical Panel

If you live in a newer home, you probably won’t have to worry too much about overloading your electrical outlets and circuits during the holidays. That’s because electrical code gets modified every few years to ensure new buildings’ electrical systems are designed to accommodate modern electrical demand.

If you live in a home that’s several decades old, however, you’ll need to be very careful not to overload an outdated, old electrical panel. Avoid using power strips to plug multiple strings of holiday lights into the same outlet, and keep a close eye out for indications of an overload such as flickering lights or current interruptions.

How do you know if you have an outdated panel? The best way to determine that is to have an electrician perform an inspection of both panel and household wiring. If you do find out your panel could use an upgrade, it’s in your best interest to take care of that as promptly as possible. 

3. Improper Outdoor Outlet Covers

Will you be setting up outdoor holiday decor? Will any of that decor need outdoor outlets to function? Then you must make sure you have the appropriate outdoor outlet covers installed to prevent moisture-related outlet damage, electrical shock, and wiring overloads. What kind of covers should you have? These ones:

●        Bubble covers (in-use covers). These covers, which protect the receptacle from moisture intrusion even while it’s in use, should be installed on outlets in wet outdoor locations. If you’re plugging in Christmas lights, they should be plugged into outlets that have bubble covers.

●        Weatherproof flip covers. These covers are only designed to protect receptacles when they’re not in use. If you currently have these covers and plan to keep anything plugged into them, you’ll want to replace the flip cover with an in-use cover for safety’s sake.


4. Unsafe Decor

Holiday decor typically involves lights, and those lights almost always rely on a steady supply of electricity to function. Before you start decorating, be sure to thoroughly examine all electrically powered decor for signs of deterioration or damage that may make it unsafe to use. If you notice anything questionable, it’s best to toss the affected item and get a new one.

Schedule Service With a Minneapolis Residential Electrician Today

Worried your home might be harboring a few potential holiday electrical hazards? Schedule a system inspection with our team at Harrison Electric in Minneapolis! All of our electricians are fully licensed, bonded, and insured, and we’ve proudly serviced Twin Cities homeowners since 1985.

To get started our learn more about how we can help you protect your home, give us a call today at 763-544-3300 or request a service quote online, and we’ll get in touch.