What Do Fall Outdoor Decorations and Carbon Monoxide Have In Common?
They can be hazards in your home.
Fall is here and before you know it our heat will be cranked and our holiday lights will be strung across gutters, bushes, railings, and blown up characters will be billowing throughout front yards. Holiday lights?! It seems so far away doesn't it? Decorating for holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving are now becoming ever popular and orange lights fill the store shelves right next to ghosts, witches, scarecrows and pumpkins.
With the milder weather here, outdoor activities are a plenty, but this is not the time to overlook the number of necessary checks in your electrical system prior to stringing up holiday lights and turning on your heating system. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) promotes electrical safety across North America and has figured that "some type of electrical failure or malfunction was cited as factor contributing to ignition for 74% of electrical distribution or lighting equipment home structure fires." These types of home fires have cost 820 million in property damage in a 4 year span.
Just as concerning as electrical system fires are the fatalities that occur due to carbon monoxide exposure. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission states that carbon monoxide (CO) is called the “Invisible Killer” because it is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. They have calculated that more than 150 people in the United States die every year from accidental non-fire related CO poisoning associated with consumer products such as generators. Other products include faulty, improperly-used or incorrectly-vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces.
There are a number of steps every homeowner can take to help prevent electrical fires and carbon monoxide exposure:
- Electrical extension cords are meant to be temporary and not permanent solutions to plugging appliances or lights in. They should not be placed under rugs, adhered to the floor with tape or in areas that have heavy traffic. An easy solution is to have a certified electrician add an electrical outlet.
- Check the wattage of light bulbs in your light fixtures. Every fixtures is rated for a certain wattage and if your light bulbs are higher than the recommended amount, this can cause problems.
- If you are frequently resetting circuit breakers, it is highly suggested that you contact your electrician to evaluate what the cause of problem may be and upgrade your panel if necessary.
- Make sure to regularly test your GFCI outlets by hitting the test and reset buttons. These outlets can prevent serious shocks.
- Test your smoke and CO detectors. If you don't have CO detectors it is recommended to have them installed if you have a gas furnace or burn in a fireplace.
- Don't skip your fall Heating and Cooling maintenance. This can catch hazardous problems such as heat exchanger cracks which are the leading cause of carbon monoxide venting into your home.
Your certified electrician is equipped to check all of your outlets, light fixtures and electrical panel to declare your system ready for the upcoming season and can even install CO detectors. Your heating and cooling technician will check that your heating system is not venting carbon monoxide gas into your home by visually checking the heat exchanger with specifically designed cameras.
At Casteel Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical, you only need to call once to have your whole home checked and ready for the upcoming seasons. By checking your electrical and heating systems you will reduce your risks to electrical fires as well as carbon monoxide exposure. Our certified electricians are some of the best in the industry and will make sure to have you ready for your holiday lights. Casteel HVAC technicians are NATE certified and have been servicing the metro Atlanta area for the past 28 years and through their expertise, have made Casteel "Atlanta's Best Pick Contractor," 5 years in a row. They are certified Heat Exchanger Experts specifically trained to diagnose problems which may pose a hazard to you during the heating season. Just make one call to have your electrical and HVAC systems checked! Contact Casteel today at (770) 766-1657 or schedule online. Remember, it's just $39 BUCKS for your electrical trip charge and diagnostic!