winter electrical hazards

With its majestic frosted skyline, frozen rivers, and powder-like snow, winter makes Pittsburgh a wonderland.

But while it can be stunning, winter in the Steel City isn’t always fun; it can also be rough. Especially this year, as experts forecast, it’ll be “frosty, flaky, and slushy.”

So, we won’t blame you if all you want to do is stay warm indoors. But if you do, please be careful of winter electrical hazards.

We’ll teach you how to identify and avoid these winter-related electrical safety risks, so please read on.

Dangers Caused by Faulty Heating Equipment

Home heating equipment sees more use in winter than in any other season. Unfortunately, their improper use and lack of upkeep make them a fire and carbon monoxide (CO) hazard.

In 2021 alone, U.S. fire departments received 32,200 home heating fire reports. These resulted in hundreds of injuries and deaths and over $440 million in property loss.

A faulty or ill-maintained furnace can also leak CO into your home. This can happen if your system burns gas incompletely and has a cracked heat exchanger.

To minimize such dangers, invest in pre-seasonal heating system maintenance. With this, professionals will thoroughly inspect, clean, and tune up your system. This lets them catch and fix problems before they give way to fires or cause gas leaks.

As a bonus tip, replace the batteries and test your smoke alarms to ensure they work.

Electrical Fires Due to Holiday Lights

Light bulbs and lamps are behind almost one in five Christmas tree fires in the U.S.

Holiday indoor and outdoor lights with faulty wires can cause those incidents. To avoid these hazards, use only products with the UL seal. This indicates they meet the safety standards of the American National Standards Institute.

You shouldn’t use too many lights simultaneously, either. This can overload electrical systems, causing circuit breakers to trip.

But if the breakers themselves are defective, they won’t trip. This can result in electrical fire and shock hazards.

A thorough system inspection and tune-up can help lower the risks of such electrical emergencies.

Rodent Damage

Mice and rat infestations are common in Pittsburgh year-round, but they can be more severe during winter. This is because, like humans, they need warmth. Your home is a perfect place, especially since it gives them quick access to food and water.

The problem is that rodents bring diseases like hantavirus and leptospirosis. They can also chew on electrical wires, triggering electrical fires.

To prevent those electrical problems, seal holes and gaps in your home from which pests can enter. You should also have a licensed electrician cover accessible and exposed cables and wires.

Stay Away From Winter Electrical Hazards

Winter electrical hazards include faulty heaters, defective holiday lights, and rodent-chewed wires.

Fortunately, they’re all preventable, and South Hills Electric, Heating & Cooling, LLC can help. Since we opened our doors 20 years ago, we have built an immense portfolio of top-quality work.

So, tell us all your winter electrical concerns today! We’ll make your electrical (and HVAC) system winter-ready so you can stay warm and safe in your Pittsburgh, PA, home.