The Importance Of Home Electrical Safety
The topic of home electrical safety is an important one. By simply taking the time to follow these simple rules, you can easily increase the electrical safety in your home and prevent things like shock, electrocution, electrical fires, and damage to both your electrical devices and your property.
Some of the items on this list are really common sense approaches to electrical safety. Others may be signs of a more serious electrical problem going on in your home, that need the attention of a licensed electrical contractor. If ever in doubt, contact an electrician and set up a home electrical inspection to address any concerns.
Rule # 1
Water and Electricity Do Not Mix
It is absolutely necessary to keep your electrical appliances away from both water and moisture. If one of your electrical appliances happens to get wet, the first thing you should do is go to your circuit breaker and turn off the corresponding switch. Then you can safely unplug your appliance and remove it from the water if it is accidentally dropped. Once the appliance has been completely dried out, can it then be evaluated for continued usage.
Rule # 2
Watch Your Appliances
Pay attention to what they are telling you. If you have an appliance that is constantly tripping a circuit breaker, is blowing fuses, or giving out electrical shocks, these are not just isolated incidents. They are a tell-tale sign that something is seriously wrong. In this event, the appliance should be unplugged and not used until a licensed electrician can take a look at the situation, and determine if the problem stems from the appliance or your homes electrical wiring.
Rule # 3
Upgrade to GFCI – Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
The purpose of GFCI outlets is simple. They are designed to detect current leaks (also known as ground faults) in electrical circuits. These current leakages most often occur when a device that is power on comes into contact with water. When this happens the GFCI instantaneously shuts the power off, which helps to prevent electrical shock, burns, and being electrocuted.
While GFCI outlets are required in new home construction, older homes do not have these outlets. An electrician can replace the traditional outlets with updated GFCI outlets in the bathroom, kitchen, and garage areas – reducing the potential for electrical injury and increasing your piece of mind.
Rule # 4
Use The Correct Circuit Breakers And Fuses
Mismatched circuit breakers and fuses that do not have the correct size and wattage rating for the specified circuit are destined to fail. Be careful, because even if the fuse appears to fit, it may not be the right specification. If you are replacing fuses on your own, be sure to read the packaging and make sure you are buying the right fuse.
If you are unsure, contact a licensed electrician to have a look. Upon inspecting your panel box, have the electrician label it for future reference. That way you will know the proper fuse sizes needed for your circuit box next time you’re at the hardware store.
Rule # 5
Use Outlet Covers To Protect The Kids
Using outlet covers around your home is a sensible way to prevent naturally curious babies and small children from shock and electrocution. There are two basic types of outlet protectors – plugin-in types, and special child safety wall plates.
The advantage of the wall plates offer is built-in retractable covers that snap automatically in place when the outlet is not occupied.
Rule # 6
Don’t Use Outlet Expansion Devices Like Cube Taps
These little devices may seem like a good idea at the time, but cube taps and other outlet-expansion devices are really circuit overloads just waiting to happen. An overloaded circuit could cause the electrical wiring to overheat and even a fire.
Devices like this can be dangerous, especially power requirement of the device exceeds the power demand the cube tap is able to handle. Find out if the cube tap can handle the job before plugging in.
Rule # 7
Update Broken And Missing Wall Plates
How many times have we reached out for the light switch in the dark? If the wall plate was broken or missing, your fingers could easily come in contact with the live electrical current, causing shock and possible electrocution. Wall plates are designed to protect our fingers, and it is important that they are properly maintained.
Rule # 8
Remember Electrical Powered Lawn Tools
Commonly used lawn tools like electric hedge trimmers, week whackers, and lawnmowers all run the risk of causing an electrical shock and possible electrocution if they are not kept dry. You should never operate these devices in wet conditions. Whether it has just been raining, or the sprinklers were on, grass and foliage that is wet can cause potential problems.
Rule # 9
Get The Right Bulb For The Right Lamp
Don’t just stick any old light bulb into any old lamp. Check the wattage specifications beforehand to prevent overloading the lamp wiring and risking a fire. The maximum wattage specifications for your lamp are generally found on or near the light bulb socket. Make sure the light bulb you are using has a wattage that is equal to or less than your lamp’s maximum wattage.
Rule # 10
Take Care of Your Cords
We often do not see our power cords very often. They are often hidden away behind furniture or running along the bottom of a wall. However the out of sight out of mind thinking is dangerous when it comes to power cords.
Make sure that your cords do not get pinched under furniture as excessive pressure can damage the cords insulation and crimp the conducting wire. Power cords that have been compressed, pinched, or nailed run the risk of overheating and possible electrical fires.