Homeowners always strive to keep their family and property safe from accidents. With so many different systems and appliances to consider, there are many things to be mindful of when securing your home. Electricity is one of those things. Check out some of our tips own electrical safety tips to keep your home and family safe!
1. Don’t Overload Outlets
Plugging too many items into outlets is the cause of many house fires. Outlets are designed to handle a certain amount of current. Power strips or extension cords are often used to allow several different electrical items to pull power from one outlet. If the outlet is overloaded, it can cause issues with the breaker box. In the worst cases, outlets can spark and start a fire. Keeping outlet load at a reasonable level is one of the electrical safety tips that can save lives.
2. Water and Electricity Don’t Mix
This is common advice and should go without saying. However, there might be a couple of things that even more experienced homeowners aren’t aware of concerning electricity and water.
One of the primary electrical safety tips that everyone should know is that water will conduct electricity. Many unsuspecting people have been shocked by touching their appliances with wet hands, or when using electronic items too close to water. Having an outlet by the kitchen sink additionally increases this risk, so be careful.
Water typically puts out fires, but electrical ones – not so much. While water may seem to put out the flame at first, it will fuel the electrical fire more. Only fire-retardant chemical extinguishers should be used to put out such a fire. Its recommended that there should be an extinguisher installed and easily accessible on every level of the home.
In the event of flooding, basements can become lethal. If there is standing water in a basement, don’t go into the basement. It could be carrying a current from any electrical equipment that it comes in contact with. Standing water like that should always first be tested for electric currents before anyone attempts to walk through it.
3. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)
GFCI outlets are the safest and most recommended electrical outlets for any room that has running water. They’re also great when you want to make the room child-proof. If an outlet gets wet, has a foreign object inserted into it or if it is overloaded, a GFCI will cleverly detect the power surge and disable the outlet.
4. Power Tool Electrical Safety Tips
They make big jobs more accessible. Although, they can be dangerous. Here are some ways to be more careful with them:
- Never stand in or near water when using a tool that is plugged into the wall.
- Always wear goggles when using power tools. (This is not an electrical issue, but a good idea.)
- Outlets being used for power tools need to be strong enough to supply the correct current. It helps to check for this when either buying a new tool or before getting ready to work with one.
- Place extension cords strategically, to avoid accidents.
5. Electrical Cord Safety
Be mindful of both the power cords on appliances as well as of any extension cords. Here are a few things to consider when dealing with cables.
- This may be hard to accept, but extension cords are designed for short-term use only.
- If you have any pets living inside, you should definitely consider hiding the cords away from their reach. Pets can create safety hazards if they try to chew cords or wires.
- Use cords that are in good shape, with no fraying or exposed wiring.
- Don’t stretch cords across walking spaces.
- Cords should never be yanked out of the sockets. Doing that can damage the cable, the outlet or both.
Don’t get too carried away with your next house project! Nails or drilling often damage the wiring inside of walls. You should find out where all of the internal wiring is located before you do any work on the walls.
7. Fixing Appliances
It’s recommended to have a professional take care of any repairs on home appliances. Homeowners are often tempted to fix appliances themselves or have a friend do it. This is another one of those electrical safety tips that if not followed correctly, can lead to health risks.
8. Electrical Safety Tips for Light Bulbs
Light fixtures will have recommended wattage requirements, usually noted on the outside of the socket. Using the wrong bulbs can cause them to overheat, which can cause a fire. If a bulb breaks while in the socket, unplug the lamp first if possible before removing the bulb to ensure your safety.
9. Don’t Ignore Issues
A home’s electrical system will usually give some hints if something is wrong. Here are some general electrical safety tips to keep in mind when at home.
- No matter the weather outside, outlets should not be warm. If they are, there are several potential causes that an electrician will be able to diagnose quickly, like bad connection or high voltage.
- Loose outlets can cause problems too. It usually is just a matter of securing the outlet. However, if it is loose for too long, the wiring will be affected and you are in danger once again.
- Breakers that trip often indicate an overload of a specific circuit or an issue with the panel itself.
- Flickering lights are an easy sign of an electrical problem. If the light bulb is not going out, it could be caused by faulty wiring or an issue with the amount of power that the main panel is attempting to supply.
- Even if you know you just burned something in the oven – don’t ignore burning smells. It can mean that there are hot wires somewhere that can potentially turn into a fire, so make sure you know where it’s coming from for sure.
10. Outside Tips
If you are looking to make the outdoors around your house a safer place, or you are just beginning to build an outdoor area, here are a few things to consider.
- Power lines are dangerous, electricity can be conducted through tree limbs, rakes, ladders or just about anything else that touches them. If you have power lines near your home, it would be a good idea to keep long/tall structures away from them. If you are planning really far ahead, don’t plant trees close to them.
- Digging is a popular backyard pastime activity. If you like working in the backyard you may want to dig here and there on occasion. Unfortunately, power lines may sometimes be buried underground. Local electric companies should always be consulted before you do any digging, they will often be able to provide a schematic (or at least they should) – so that you know where you can dig. Don’t take your chances.
- Extension cords: There are types of these specifically made for inside or outside. If not used as intended, they can be a fire hazard.
- Exterior lights: The same causes for concern that exist for interior lights should be kept in mind with exterior lights. Any flickering, burning smell, frayed wires or any other suspicious issue should be addressed. Also, unlike indoors – outside there are different weather conditions. Keep that in mind as you are planning exterior lighting.
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