Electricity may be the greatest discovery mankind has ever made, but it’s also very dangerous. It can electrocute you, your family, or your pets and cause serious injury or death. Electrical problems can even start fires. But there are a few home electrical safety tips that can greatly reduce the chances of any of these things happening. The key to all of these is to pay attention and think before you act. Being aware of your surroundings and a few of the basic concepts of electricity can help keep you, your family, and your property safe. Here are some home electrical safety tips from Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Home Electrical Safety Tips
1. Replace damaged electrical cords.
A damaged electrical cord can give you a serious shock when you touch it. It can also start an electrical fire. Both of these can be fatal, so check your cords regularly. If they have electrical tape wrapped around them or loose plugs, they should be replaced. It’s possible to repair them if you cut off the damaged portion and replace the plug end, but it’s usually better to just replace them.
2. Don’t run electrical cords across high-traffic areas.
The repeated stress of a cord being stepped on if it lays across a doorway or under a carpet can cause it to fail. Also, a cord in a high-traffic area is a tripping hazard. Also, keep extension cords out of sight if you have pets; they may start playing on them and chewing them.
3. Don’t plug too many things into one outlet.
Of all the home electrical safety tips, this one is violated the most often. However, you might be wondering “how many is too many, exactly?” Well, that depends on how your home is wired. So, it’s important to know the electrical specifications of your home in order to stay safe. A good rule of thumb is to never plug more than one high-wattage appliance into an outlet at a time.
4. If your circuit breaker trips again right after you reset it, find the problem causing it, but don’t try to reset it again.
Trying to repeatedly reset a circuit breaker that doesn’t want to reset can cause a fire. When a breaker trips, it’s because there’s something wrong. If you just plugged something in or turned something on before it tripped, then you’re likely overloading the circuit you plugged the item into. If you can’t find the problem, it’s best to call a professional electrician to check things out.
5. Use tamper-resistant outlets if you have small children.
Small children are curious about how the world works. Don’t risk having them stick something into an outlet and getting a shock.
6. Call an electrician if you find a light switch, outlet or cord that’s warm to the touch.
Dimmer switches are often naturally warm to the touch because of the way they’re designed. A warm dimmer is no cause for alarm, but a warm toggle switch, outlet, or cord is.
7. Use only light bulbs that match the recommended wattage of light fixtures and lamps.
Using bulbs that are too low on wattage can cause them to get very hot, increasing the risk of burns or fires. This is one of the home electrical safety tips that often goes unnoticed.
8. Keep lamps on level surfaces away from anything flammable.
The bulbs of lamps can get warm even if you do use the right bulb, so keep them away from curtains drapes, and any paper, plastic, or cardboard items.
9. Don’t throw water on an electrical fire.
Since water conducts electricity, don’t throw it on an electrical fire. At best, this will only spread the fire. At worst, you could get electrocuted and burned badly.
10. Install ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in areas that have water in them (bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and outdoor outlets).
A GFCI is an extra level of safety in the event that a short occurs in an outlet. A GFCI will cut power to the outlet if it detects a surge.