Everyone takes electricity for granted, but did you know that there are more than 31,000 home electrical fires in the United States every year? So while you may take for granted that your lights will come on when you flick the switch, it would be advisable to treat electricity with some respect. Here are ten electrical safety tips that every homeowner needs to know.
1. Do Not Overload Outlets
Outlets are only designed to handle one appliance at a time. If you have many devices plugged into a single outlet, you are at risk of overloading the outlet. Try to distribute appliances around the home so that each can be plugged into a separate outlet, or if you need to, get an electrician to install some more outlets in your home for you.
2. Use Outlet Covers If You Have Kids in Your Home
Whenever you have children in your home, it would be advisable to seal off unused outlets with an outlet cover. You can buy cheap plastic outlet covers for only a few dollars. These simple childproofing products will prevent children from poking their fingers or toys in live electrical outlets.
3. Do Not Ignore Electrical Faults
Intermittent electrical faults, such as a flickering light, could mean that you have some loose wires. Loose wires could cause the electricity to arc, which could, in turn, cause a fire. The same rule applies to appliances that don’t always work. If you need to thump a machine to make it work, that also probably means that there is a loose connection somewhere. Don’t ignore these types of faults. Investigate them and fix the problem if you can. Or call an electrician and ask them to investigate the issue for you.
4. Only Use Extension Cords Short-Term
Extension cords are only designed to be used short term. If you need electricity somewhere where you do not have an outlet, have another outlet installed. Also, do not run extension cords underneath carpets because the wire could overheat and cause a fire. Be careful not to run an extension cord where someone might trip on it.
5. Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (CFGCIs) cut off the electrical supply if a power surge caused by a short circuit is detected. CFGCIs should be installed in any room where there is water, such as bathrooms and kitchens. They will also provide extra protection in homes where there are children.
6. Always Cut Off the Power When You Do Electrical Work
Before you do any electrical work in your home, cut off the power at the breaker box. Then, test the outlet or appliance with a tester or by trying to switch on the device. Never attempt any electrical repairs on a live outlet or electrical device. That may sound like it is stating the obvious, but you would be surprised how many people do electrocute themselves when making electrical repairs in their own homes.
7. Feel Outlets for Heat and Check for Frayed Cords
Carry out a regular electrical safety check in your home. Outlets should be cold to the touch. If outlets are warm or hot, then switch off the appliance, remove the plug from the outlet and call an electrician. It would also be advisable to check cords for wear and tear periodically. And check that electrical cords have not been pulled loose out of plugs or the backs of appliances.
8. Check for Internal Wiring Before You Drill into a Wall
When you are working on home improvement projects, don’t assume that you know where the internal wiring is in the walls. Check for wiring with an electrical wire finder and isolate the electrical supply at the breaker box before you start drilling or working on a wall.
9. Water and Electricity Don’t Go Well Together!
Never mix water and electricity because water conducts electricity. Avoid touching appliances or outlets when you have wet hands. Never take electric-powered items, like TVs, in the bathroom with you to take a bath. If you ever have a flood in your home, the first thing you should do is cut off the power supply.
10. Don’t Do It Yourself If You Don’t Know How to Do It
There are many home improvement jobs that you can take on yourself, but if you don’t know what you are doing, electrical jobs are not one of those. If you wire up your home wrong, you could wind up losing your home to a house fire. When it comes to electricity, if in doubt, get an electrician to do the job for you.
The above home electrical safety tips will help you keep you and your family safe. But the most important thing to take away is that electricity must be treated with respect. Don’t ignore electrical faults, and never attempt to do electrical work if not sure what you are doing. If in doubt, don’t take the risk of fixing electrical faults yourself; call in a qualified electrician to do the job safely for you.
When you’re ready to renovate, give the building experts at Trinity Homes AZ a call, or visit our website to be inspired by completed projects.