With the addition of holiday decorations and all the extra cooking during festive get-togethers, mobile home electrical safety sometimes gets overlooked around this time of the year.
But there are steps you can take to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your home safe this holiday season.
Mobile Home Electrical Basics
Mobile home electrical systems are typically 120/240 volts, and the average mobile home consumes between 4100 and 4500 watts per day (most of this is used to run cooling and heating units).
For comparison, site-built homes in North America use 120-volt electrical systems, and the average American home uses about 29,360 watts per day.
Although mobile homes use less electricity overall than most site-built homes, they tend to use more electricity per square foot. This is mainly because mobile homes are often built using less expensive parts and have less efficient insulation, heating, and cooling systems.
The way electrical systems are set up for mobile homes vs. site-built homes is a little different.
Site-built homes have electrical service running directly into the house and electricity meters attached to the outside of the home.
On the other hand, mobile home electrical service is not built directly into mobile homes. Instead, mobile home electrical service panels and electricity meters are usually mounted on a service pole outside the home.
Ensuring a Safer Holiday
Avoid Overloaded Outlets
Mobile homes often have fewer electrical outlets than their site-built counterparts, so it’s essential not to overload your mobile home’s outlets around the holidays.
Too many high-wattage appliances and decorations plugged into a single outlet can throw sparks, blow a fuse, or cause a fire due to overheating.
To mitigate these risks, move appliances and decorations around so that you’re using as many different outlets as possible.
Mobile home electrical systems can get overloaded more quickly than site-built homes, so it’s a good idea to always try to keep your electrical appliances evenly distributed across different outlets.
Although you may need to use extension cords to plug in things like Christmas lights and other decorations over the holidays, avoid the temptation to connect a whole bunch of different electrical appliances using a single extension cord.
If you must use an extension cord, connect only one thing to it, and never run an extension cord where it could get wet or damaged.
Prevent Pinched Cords
Pinched electrical cords from appliances and decorations can quickly get frayed and damaged, becoming an electrical fire hazard and potentially shocking you or someone else in your home.
Avoid pinching cables by running them under furniture or rugs or forcing them into small, tight spaces like windows and doors.
Also, keep electrical cables out of the way, where people won’t walk back and forth over them — treading over cords is another excellent way to damage them and turn them into an electrical hazard.
To protect your mobile home’s electrical cables during the holidays, run them where they have plenty of room around them and are well out of the way.
An excellent way to protect your cables and prevent accidents is to run them along walls and cover them with plastic electrical cord covers.
Unplug Your Decorations
You should never leave decorations or non-essential appliances plugged in overnight or when you leave the house — something might happen when you’re asleep or not there to notice. You won’t be able to prevent the issue from progressing.
In general, it’s a good habit to unplug anything you’re not actively using in your mobile home. Not only does this save energy and help reduce your utility bills, but it also limits the amount your circuit breaker trips due to running too many lights and appliances simultaneously.
Take Heed of Heating Units
If you use a space heater during the colder months, ensure you don’t have anything flammable leaning against it or anywhere near it.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your heating unit at least three feet away from anything flammable, including electrical cables, which could overheat and catch fire.
Additionally, make sure nothing is obstructing any ventilation to the outside. This is essential to keeping your air clean, mainly if you use a heater powered by natural gas.
Lastly, always turn off and unplug your heating unit when you go to bed or leave the house.
Use LED String Lights
If you’re still using old, non-LED string lights to decorate a Christmas tree or the outside of your mobile home during the holidays, it’s time to replace them with LED lights.
Not only are LED string lights more energy efficient than other varieties of decorative lighting, but they also emit less heat and are, therefore, less likely to cause an accident.
Although LED lights can overheat and burn out, the light bulbs don’t get hot enough to ignite anything else. You still need to be careful about protecting the wires and preventing them from getting pinched or frayed, but the light bulbs themselves are very safe.
Watch Out for Pets
If you have pets, especially a dog or cat, that likes to chew on things, you must be extra careful about them over the holidays.
Take extra precautions to keep decorations and cables out of their reach and protected, and periodically inspect any cables they might be able to reach for teeth marks. If you see any damage, stop using the cords and replace them.
Finally, if you put up a Christmas tree, ensure that it is very secure and that your pets can’t knock it and its lights/decorations down.
Electrical and Lighting Supplies from Star Mobile
Although mobile home electrical safety is an even more significant concern over the holidays, things like broken, faulty, or damaged light switches, electrical outlets, and outlet covers are a concern any time of the year.
Star Mobile Home Supply has everything you need to replace these mobile home electrical components.