Stay Safe – In Winter And All Year

January 10, 2022                                                                                                                                            Home

Although it is important to always pay attention to our home wiring system, it is during the winter that people need to be more alert, as we generally spend more time indoors and use more electrical appliances.  If we use electric heaters, this is certainly the case.

What are some of the most common problems with electric wiring?  The following is a short list:  hot outlets, flickering lights, a burning smell, ungrounded fixtures, loose outlets, rodents chewing wire coating, and extension cords.  Some of these problems can be solved easily.  Some might require a professional to do the work.  Thanks to for some of the following material. 

Although electrical appliances do generate some heat, the outlet should never get hot. If you feel heat at an outlet, unplug any cords and do not use the outlet until you can find the problem.  Also, check your switch cover plates. With the possible exception of dimmer switches, these plates should not get hot.  Dimmer switches might get warm but should not get hot.  Always look at dimmer switch wattage before you install one.

Flickering lights are a sign of a loose electrical connection. If the flickering is on one light,  the fix is usually fairly easy. If it’s affecting multiple lights or rooms, then the problem is likely farther back in the circuit. If the whole house has the problem, the breaker box or utility drop outside your home needs examination. 

Scorched electrical outlet 

If you smell something burning but can’t see a source, it could be the wiring heating up and melting the plastic sheathing, This is very serious and needs to be looked at immediately – whether the problem is with one fixture, in the wall, or in the breaker box. 

If you touch a metal object connected to your home’s system and receive a shock, it’s most likely that your electrical system or part of it is not properly grounded. This could be true for lamps or ceiling fans, but can also be a larger problem. Don’t confuse these shocks with static electricity pops, which are much smaller and not a serious problem.

If you plug an appliance or cord into an outlet and notice that the insides of the outlet are moving around, it’s time to open the outlet and repair it. A loose outlet will eventually shake its wires free, leading to shorts, sparks and potential fire hazards.

In winter mice, squirrels, and other critters might want to spend time inside your home.  These rodents can gnaw on wiring until it is bare.  This will most likely end the life of the rodent, but can create an electrical problem for you (plus the smell of the dead animal). Take steps to eliminate rodents from your home.

Extension cords are commonly used in our homes.  Avoid tangling wires, especially those that might be connected to portable heaters.  Extension cords are designed to carry certain electric loads, and it is essential not to overload the capacity of a cord.

Stay safe and warm this winter.  If you have electricity supply issues, immediately contact Powell Valley Electric Cooperative.  Everyone needs to learn more about our electric cooperative.  For more information, go to

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