Electrical Safety In Your Home – What You Need To Know
Electrical safety in the home is often overlooked, after all, electricity is a large part of our lives, so much so that you may not even notice how much you use until you experience an electric outage. Using appliances and other items that need electricity can be mindless routine activities that you may not pay attention to. In this article, we would like to remind you that electricity can be dangerous if you are not careful in certain circumstances. In fact, the most recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there are on average 400 electrocutions each year, 70 resulting in fatalities. Although these numbers are a lot lower than years past, it is still important to be aware of the basics of electrical safety.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that between 2010 and 2014 approximately 47,000 home fires were caused by electrical failures. These fires resulted in hundreds of deaths and injuries and over $1.4 billion in property damages. Ensuring your home’s electricity is not being overloaded is key in preventing an electrical fire. Here are 3 electrical safety tips to prevent electrical overload:
- Use power strips sparingly and wisely, never plug multiple high wattage appliances into a multi-outlet converter. Keep in mind power strips do not increase the amount of electricity the outlet can handle. Do not plug multiple heat generating appliances into one outlet.
- Extension cords should also be used in moderation and not be plugged into one another. Using too many extension cords may be an indication you need more outlets.
- Be aware of discolored outlets or light switches, or if they feel warm to the touch. Also, investigate any buzzing or cracking sound from receptacles as that could be a sign that something may be off. Another warning sign that you may be overloading your electric system is if fuses are frequently blown.
It is good to have a licensed electrician check any concerns you may have to ensure you are using a safe amount of electricity.
Ensuring you have the correct type of outlets installed in your house is an additional precaution that can protect your home.
Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs) are outlets that prevent foreign objects or damaged plugs from entering the outlet due to their spring-loaded receptacle cover plates that close off the receptacle openings. Each year, approximately 2,400 children suffer severe shock and burns when they stick foreign items into an outlet, TRRs prevent this from happening and are now the required standard outlet in new and remodeled construction. At only $.50 more per outlet these life saving devices are much more effective than outlet covers that could be a potential choking hazard for toddlers that may be able to pull them out of the wall.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are outlets that prevent shock by quickly shutting off power when it detects an electrical danger. For instance, a person that becomes part of a path for leakage current will be severely shocked or electrocuted. GFCIs prevents this shock by quickly shutting off the power. A GFCI outlet is required to be used in areas where water and electricity are near each other, such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry areas, garages, and outdoors. GFCIs have helped cut the number of home electrocutions in half and have saved thousands of lives.
- Understand how to use your home’s circuit breaker, making sure all circuits are labeled properly. Outlets and light switches should be tested frequently, if one is not working after you have tried the circuit contact a licensed electrician.
- Never use appliances with frayed cords or have broken plugs. When pulling a plug out of a wall pull the plug, not the cord.
- Turn the power off before attempting any type of electrical work.
It is important to ensure your home is safe from any electrical issues to prevent fires, electrocution, or any other electrical issues. Frequently checking outlets, power cords, plugs, and keeping electrical items in a safe, dirt and water free area will help continue to keep your home safe. Also, remember to contact a licensed electrician if you ever have an issue with your electric. If you have any electrical safety questions please feel free to give us a call and remember Loose Wires Cause Fires.