Winter is finally here in Myrtle Beach. The temperatures have finally dropped along the Grand Strand with nighttime lows moving down toward the low 30s. After an unseasonably warm December in which many found their air conditioners on, we’ve now switched gears to bumping up the heat a bit at night and warming the car with the defroster and heated seats on when we wake up in the morning.

The conveniences of efficient heating, cooling and electrical systems let us live and work in comfort. Interestingly, the word “comfort,” which we now associate with contentment and ease, traces its English history to Middle English as “a source of alleviation or relief” and dates back to the 1200s. Of course, a home in the 13th century would not contain electricity or an HVAC unit. Back then, small homes were heated by a central wood-burning hearth and insulated with walls filled with a mixture of mud and straw. An open fire-pit would be used for cooking, most-likely livestock raised in an attached “byre,” which is Middle English for barn.

Thankfully, our homes have changed immensely since the 1200s, but the act of taking comfort around home-cooked foods in a warm kitchen have not. Modern electrical and HVAC systems help us prepare our comfort foods with contentment and ease. With many appliances integrated into the modern kitchen, it is important to maintain a safe space. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides helpful checklists for maintaining a safe kitchen. Here are some things you can do to make sure your kitchens are safe:

  • Unplug all countertop appliances when not in use. Plugged-in and unattended appliances may create an unnecessary risk or fire hazard.
  • Keep all cords away from hot surfaces. Move cords away from stovetops and toaster ovens to prevent fire and electrical hazards.
  • Keep appliances away from the sink. Appliances near the sink risk getting wet and creating electrical problems.
  • Use GFCI outlets, especially for appliances near sinks. GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets reduce the chances of being shocked or electrocuted.

Cooper Mechanical Services handles your home and work heating, cooling and electrical needs, allowing you to live and work comfortably. Visit CallCooper.com to connect with an expert technician, and be sure to visit our Facebook page to let us know what your favorite “comfort food” is.