Mr. Electric of Greater Portland Provides Useful Electrical Safety Tips for the Winter Season

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Portland, ME electrician presents safety information regarding electrical concerns for homeowners and businesses during the holiday season

December 19, 2012

Many residents and business around Portland, ME will be lighting trees, decorating their homes and storefronts, and trying to keep warm against New England’s frigid seasonal temperatures. With that in mind, experienced Maine electrical contractor Mr. Electric of Great Portland presents a number of facts to help keep us safe this winter.

Here are some interesting statistics published by ESFI, the Electrical Safety Foundation International:

-There are more than 3,000 electrical fires caused by extension cords each year
-These fires lead to approximately 50 deaths and 270 injuries
-Large appliances cause about 20% of consumer-product electrocutions every year
-The U.S. Customer agency confiscates more than $3 million in consumer electronics each year with counterfeit safety and regulatory certification markings

With Portland, ME having a population of more than 66,000, these numbers may not seem staggering. However, in the eyes of a trained electrician in Portland, ME, even one death or injury that could have been avoided is too much. But, how can such tragedy be avoided? There are a few things homeowners, businesses, and consumers can do to prevent injury or worse when it comes to common, everyday electronics.

First, always be sure the goods being purchased have authentic seals of approval from regulatory bodies such as the UL, CSA, or ETL. While it can be hard to directly verify this information, consumers can avoid buying items such as extension cords, light bulbs, and more at discount stores or non-permanent locations (street vendors). In fact, it is a good practice to pay a little more and purchase higher quality goods from an established retailer. Purchasers for organizations should verify that goods are being purchased through reputable vendors and perform due diligence when looking at any new vendors.

It is also important to verify the condition of electrical cords—both extension cords and cords attached to devices. If there are tears, kinks, or the wiring is otherwise exposed or damaged, it should be repaired or returned and most certainly not used. With it being winter, decorations such as lights should be carefully inspected for damage before hooking up to a power supply.

While it might be tempting to connect one extension cord to another, it is recommended to use no more than one extension cord in a chain. If the extension cord will not reach, it is best to purchase a new, longer extension cord. At the same time, using a single power strip or surge protector per socket is best. Using multiple extension cords and power strips together can lead toward increased heat and overloading a circuit, which is not good.

It is also important to make sure extension cords are tucked away safely. If they need to be set across a floor that people walk on, they should be placed under rugs, electrical cord runners, or even taped. This will avoid people accidently tripping on them which could cause injury by fall, a discharge of electricity when the cord is pulled from the wall, or damage to either the cord of whatever it is powering.

Another major concern that people tend to overlook is storage during the winter season. People are visiting, gifts and extra stock are being stored, and so on. Be careful that any device that puts out heat, which includes virtually all electronic devices, are properly ventilated and that those devices are not stored too near walls or other heat producing devices. Electric space heaters should be turned off and unplugged from the socket before leaving the room.

Finally, before connecting new appliances or electronics to a socket, be sure that the socket is the proper voltage. Many businesses use 220v and 440v sockets for running machines and specialized equipment. Some will pick up new dryers this season as well as kitchen appliances. While most higher voltage electrical sockets are specially designed to accept only certain plugs, not all are. Plugging a device that is designed for a 110v or 115v into a socket that is putting out two to four times as much energy can lead to destroying the vice, but can also cause spark and flame.

By paying heed to these simple safety tips, Mr. Electric of Greater Portland hopes that everyone can enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.

About Mr. Electric of Greater Portland:
Serving as a residential and commercial electrician in Portland, ME, Mr. Electric also offers services in the surrounding area including installing to appliance, troubleshooting wiring, and more.

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Chris Moreno

Cameron Corniuk
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