With winter at the door or just around the corner, depending on where you live, we need to step back and ensure our homes are safe. Despite being the coldest season, wintertime tops the other three regarding home fires. Of course, many of these accidents are preventable and are often due to negligence or poor knowledge by the owner.
Would you like to ensure your home’s safety through the season? Are you looking for ways to make it more efficient? If so, you’re at the right place. We’ve curated the perfect winter electrical safety checklist for renters. Strap in for our detailed guide below:
Winter Electrical Safety Checklist
1. Inspect your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
One of the first things you should do is inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. These systems can be crucial in alerting when a fire breaks out, so it’s essential they’re up and functioning correctly. If you’re unsure about the last time you changed the batteries, you should also grab new ones at the store.
2. Check the Exterior Wiring
You should perform a thorough exterior inspection of your wiring system. It might be hard to notice any fraying that starts once you’re holed up in the dead of winter. Thus, you should take a walk around the property and ensure there are no exposed wires on the premises. You can also examine your external lights to ensure the bulbs are working fine.
3. Prune Your Trees
Trees have several benefits but can also be a nuisance around wintertime. Ice and storms can dislodge leaves and branches, putting your house at risk. Instead of uprooting your beautiful oak, you can prune the branches to reduce such risks. Pay close attention to those close to your home. They are more likely to cause the most, if any, damage. However, if you’re already dealing with the aftermath of a wayward tree branch, you can call a full-service property manager to assist with maintenance and repair needs.
4. Check Your Outlets
Back in the house, it’s vital to inspect your outlets. Your power sockets can be a telling sign of an underlying electrical problem. Inspect the outlets in each room to ensure they are safe and functioning correctly. Signs like smoke, sparks, and warmth to touch are telltale signs that something is off. Contact a professional electrician immediately if you notice any of these during your inspection.
5. Seal the Doors and Windows
Electric bills tend to surge during colder months, but there’s no need to lose an arm and a leg to stay warm. Ensure all your doors and windows are properly sealed to keep your home insulated even amid a raging storm. If you notice a draft anywhere, fill the space with caulk to prevent valuable warm air from escaping.
6. Create a Power Outage Kit
Power outages are more frequent during winter, and despite doing your best to prevent them, some things are out of your control. With that in mind, staying prepared in case one happens would be best. Create an easily accessible kit with flashlights and other tools that could be handy during a blackout. If you’re lucky, tweaking the fusebox should restore power, but if not, you’ll have everything you need at hand till the issue is resolved.
How to Document and Report Maintenance Issues
Landlords and tenants each have their part to play in property repair and maintenance obligations. As a renter, you are responsible for reporting (potential) damage to the property owner within a reasonable time. Here’s how to document a maintenance issue
- Note down what the problem is and other details that might be helpful. For example, if the water heater malfunctions, consider when it stopped working and what specific ways it misbehaves (does it shock you when put on? Does it fail to produce hot water?). Again, there are online templates you can download to ensure you don’t miss out on anything.
- Establish contact with your landlord. After assembling the details of the maintenance issue, you should reach out to your landlord. Before moving in, you should have established a relationship with the owner or property manager. Hence, you can reach out to the appropriate party using the channel you discussed and agreed upon earlier.
- Keep records of your communication with your landlord. You should include when you reported the issue, what you said, and the property owner’s response. You can also have the date and time of visits to inspect the situation. Such records can be crucial if you take further action with a negligent landlord.
Renters have to play an active role in ensuring the safety of their rental home, especially when there’s an elevated risk of electrical damage. With this winter electrical safety checklist, you can safeguard your home and prevent unwanted fires and other hazards.
You should consult your landlord or property manager if you need a hand in making your house electrically safe. They can guide you on which tasks you might need to complete for your specific property to remain accident-free.