View Mobile Site


Main> Safety> Winter Safety

Holiday electrical safety advice

  • When unpacking your old holiday lights, look for cracked or frayed cords. Discard any that are damaged.

  • In placing holiday or other temporary lights outside, use only lights & cords rated for outdoor use. Using indoor lighting strands or an indoor extension cord outdoors can result in an electric shock or fire hazard. Check the cord's label to see if it is intended for outdoor use.

  • When hanging lights, be careful to never put staples or nails through electric cords.

  • When using ladders to decorate the exterior of your home, be aware of overhead electric lines, including the line that leads to the house. Even a wooden ladder can conduct electricity with fatal results.

  • Do not run cords under rugs where foot traffic can potentially damage the cord's insulation.

  • Do not run cords across parts of the floor where people may trip over them.

  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets, which can overheat and cause a fire.

  • Keep your tree, wrapping paper and all decorations away from heating sources including electric space heaters and baseboard heating as well as fireplaces and radiators.

  • Unplug holiday lights before you leave home.


Heating and carbon monoxide safety

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in the home, including the area near the heating system, any fuel-burning appliances and also near the bedrooms.

  • Never attempt to heat your home with your oven, stove or charcoal grill. These devices were designed for cooking. Using them for home heating can create a fire hazard and cause a lethal build-up of carbon monoxide.

  • Never use a generator in a confined space, such as a garage or shed, even with the doors open. The same goes for automobiles or other gasoline powered devices.

  • Have your home heating system serviced by a professional to ensure it is running properly and there aren't any existing or impending flaws in need of repair. Have the heat exchanger checked for any cracks or leaks, and ask to have its the fuel to air mix adjusted for efficient combustion.

  • Recognize that the burning of any fuel can create carbon monoxide. Heating systems and chimney flues should be serviced by professionals to ensure their safe and proper operation, and as an added measure, homeowners should install carbon monoxide detectors, which are required by New York State in newly constructed dwellings or existing buildings offered for sale.

  • Be sure that your fuel-burning heating system has a required "spill switch" installed. When a chimney or flue is blocked, the products of combustion (including carbon monoxide) can escape into a home or building – a dangerous condition called "spillage." To help prevent this condition, a safety device called a spill switch is installed. It will automatically interrupt the supply of fuel and shut off the heating system if it detects a blockage. Central Hudson requires the use of a spill switch whenever a new natural gas heating system is installed, and whenever an existing heating appliance is converted from another fuel to natural gas. Central Hudson recommends that spill switches be installed on all existing gas heating appliances.

  • Do not refuel snowblowers or other power tools with gasoline when near a heating appliance or any source of flame. Spills can spread and vapors can ignite quickly.

  • Keep flammable or combustible materials away from natural gas appliances, including water heaters, furnaces/boilers and other natural gas appliances. Paints, thinners, gasoline, oils, aerosol sprays, boxes, papers fall into this category. Vapors from flammable liquids are typically heavier than air, and can ignite when exposed to an open flame – such as pilot lights or operating heating appliances. Keep flammable solvents and liquids in fireproof cabinets, even if you do not consider them to be in a location near your natural gas appliance.

  • Problems that could indicate an improperly functioning heating system include:
    • Soot near the heating ducts and registers.
    • Excessive moisture in the house or on the windows.
    • A burning smell in the home.
    • The heating system runs continuously, or is unable to heat the home or building.

    If these symptoms occur, contact your heating contractor right away.

  • All fireplaces, including gas fireplaces should be inspected and cleaned periodically. Keep chimneys and flues free of debris, and have them cleaned and inspected periodically for cracks, leaks and for any buildup of soot or creosote. Gas fireplaces should have their gas connections inspected as well.

  • If adding a coal or wood-burning stove, be sure it is professionally installed and vented.

» More electrical safety tips

» More natural gas safety tips

» More carbon monoxide safety tips

» Generator safety tips

» Central Hudson's safety page