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Weekly Maintenance for your Home

December – Week 49

Just like preventative maintenance on your car, if you take care of a few small items around the house every week, you can avoid many emergency breakdowns and expensive repairs.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY is a critical question as we head into the Christmas season because we tend to add all kinds of temporary and sometimes questionable lighting both inside and outside the house.

In any season, the constant use of extension cords is an indication that you need new safely installed outlets. Extension cords should never be considered permanent wiring with the exception of a buss bar for computer, sound and TV systems. Even here, if you have plugged a buss bar into a buss bar into a buss bar — you are heading for trouble with an overloaded line.

At Christmas time, make sure that the extension cords you do use are safely arranged so that no-one will trip on the wire. Either run it up over doorways, or hide it under a rug. But don't leave it permanently under that rug as walking on it can wear it out and cause a short circuit. All outdoor lighting should be plugged into GFI receptacles. If you don't have a GFI outlet that is convenient, you can now buy short extension cords that are GFI breakers in themselves, specifically for Christmas type of outdoor wiring problems. Although Christmas lights wire will often go through snow and potentially through water, keep the plugs high and dry, and ideally the lights pointing down so as to not collect water in the sockets.

Any extension cord that becomes hot to the touch, especially where several things are plugged into the same outlet, should be removed immediately and another arrangement found that will take less electricity out of any one electrical source.

Check the SEARCH tab above for more details on "Wiring Safety".