Wintertime Electrical Dangers

While we Arizonans welcome the respite winter offers from the blistering heat, cooler days bring the potential for electrical dangers in the form of heating appliances and other devices. Today, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can protect your family from winter electrical hazards.


Space heaters

Space heaters can be dangerous if they are damaged or misused. If a space heater is old or stored improperly, wiring can become brittle and hazardous. Before using electric space heaters, examine the cord closely for signs of damage. Never store a space heater in an area where it’s likely to cause the wiring damage, such as an uninsulated storage shed or piled beneath heavier items in the garage. Only use them when you are in the room being heated.

Pay very close attention to what is in the surrounding area of a space heater during placement. Just assume that the dog, the kids, an earthquake, or a poltergeist is going to knock that space heater over or turn it up too high. Look around it. What is nearby? Anything flammable such as clothing, curtains, or paper? Take the ‘three-foot rule’ seriously.

Electric blankets

Electric blankets should also be stored carefully and examined closely for signs of wear before use. After ten years, throw it away and buy another. Regardless of the expense, it’s not worth using an old electric blanket and waking up to find your bed is on fire. Use it according to the manufacturer’s directions, and if you can’t, then don’t use it.


Shorter days mean more lighting is required at an earlier hour. It seems like we always have to change our light bulbs. Some families have holiday light displays and lights on their Christmas trees, too.

An unbendable rule is never to use a light bulb which has a higher watt capacity than is compatible with the appliance or lamp in which it’s used. Use extension cords which are appropriate for the job and only temporarily.

Adult supervision required

There are many toasters, heaters, and other electrical appliances which are perfectly safe when used appropriately by adults. Children should always be taught the dangers of electrical devices, particularly those used in the proximity of water and those who produce heat. At the same time, they should be discouraged from using appliances without adult supervision until they are of an age to handle the responsibility of using them. There is no magic age, as each child and situation will be different. Offer supervised usage for older , responsible-minded kids. We defer to your judgment on your circumstances and your children’s skill levels to make the call.

Electrical devices and lighting make winter a pleasant experience here in the Valley, and we hope this post has given you some food for thought concerning the safe use of these devices. If you need new outlets, a bigger circuit breaker box, GFCI or AFCI protection, a certified electrician is the safest way to add those to your home. Give us a call.

If you need a highly-reviewed, licensed electrician in the Phoenix Valley area, call Efficient Electric at 623-900-1461.