Electric New Year’s Resolutions
With just a few weeks before we greet 2021, now is the time to be thinking about your new year’s resolutions. Here are 12 things you can resolve to do in 2021 for your electric system and how you use electricity.
- LED lights. LED light bulbs cost more initially, but use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, and last 35 to 50 times longer. Plus, they emit very little heat, decreasing the potential for an electric fire. And since they are so much more durable, they probably won’t shatter.
- Check the watts. Make sure you check the wattage on your lamp or light fixture and make sure the light bulb you insert complies with that wattage.
- Save energy. Turn those lights off when you leave the room. Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use.
- Buy Energy Star. Appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star designation are the most energy efficient you can buy. They may cost a little more, but the energy savings will more than offset the cost.
- Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets. You should reset these outlets that are in moisture-prone areas such as the kitchen and bathroom monthly. Do so by pressing the test/reset button and making sure the outlet trips and resets. Put a monthly reminder in your phone so you don’t forget
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The new year is the perfect time to replace the batteries. And remember to replace your smoke detectors every 10 years, and carbon monoxide detectors every three to six years, depending on the model. When you buy a replacement, check the manual for the life of the sensor and write the replacement date on the outside of the unit with a permanent marker so you know when it should be replaced in the future.
- Don’t overload. We have more and more devices: computers, electronics, fancy appliances, etc. It’s easy to “daisy chain” extension cords and power strips, but that is a massive fire hazard. Far safer to add outlets.
- Whole house surge protectors. Adding outlets will not prevent you from power surges, which can cause you to lose data and much more. To minimize that risk, install a whole house surge protector.
- While we are on the subject, make sure your computers and other devices are not sitting on rugs or beds or other flammable materials.
- Dust. Those dust bunnies that form around appliances and electric cords are also fire hazards. Make sure you wipe them away.
- Electric blankets. Electric blankets can provide needed warmth but cranking up the heat or putting objects on top of them can lead to fires. Operate your blanket at night only, and at the lowest setting. Turn it off when not in use.
- Label your circuit breakers. If you need to turn off the power in a certain area of your house, don’t guess which circuit to shut off. Label your breakers so you know exactly which one to shut off.
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