Electricity is very useful in homes, but it has the potential to be extremely dangerous. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, electricity causes around 5,300 home fires every year in the US, leading to about 40 deaths and more than 100 consumer injuries. Fortunately, following simple electrical safety tips can help prevent most electrical damage, fires, injuries, electrocution, and even deaths. Here are some electrical tips that every homeowner should know to ensure their safety.
1. Learn the warning signs
You might follow all the safety measures when plugging in and maintaining your home’s electrical system but still have a hidden issue. For instance, outdated wiring, such as knob and tube wiring in an older home, can eventually lead to problems due to worn-out or incorrect adjustments. Keep an eye on these warning signs of electrical issues in your home:
- Buzzing sounds from outlets, lamps, or appliances
- Frequently tripped circuit breakers
- Worn-out or teeth-marked wires
- Warm switches, outlets, and lamp fixtures
- Strange smell around power units
Fuses and circuit breakers will audibly pop when there is a loose wire or short, and it’s advisable to call a certified electrician to replace electrical fuses after a short circuit.
2. Conduct a home power check-up
Electrical Safety Foundation (ESFI) recommends scheduling regular check-ups on your home’s wiring system. This means assessing all electrical items under your control, such as appliances, surge protectors, plugs, and bulbs. Move around the house to ensure:
- Fuses are correctly put in place
- All switches and plugs are working properly
- Lighting bulbs match your lamps’ wattage
- Plugs fit safely into your power outlets
- Electrical cords are intact and free from damage
- Every product has the Underwriter Laboratory (UL) seal
3. Avoid overloading a single outlet
Power outlets are designed to generate a certain amount of energy. It can be very unsafe to plug multiple high-power appliances into the same outlet. If you cannot rearrange your home appliances to different outlets, consider installing more outlets to lighten the original outlet.
4. Unplug appliances that are not in use
If you don’t require an appliance such as a blender or hair straightener at all times, it’s safe to unplug it when not in use. Otherwise, they may overheat, cause, or be damaged by a power surge. Unplugging appliances such as modems, chargers, or computers when heading away on vacation can also help prevent such events. In addition, it can help cut energy consumption since most home appliances draw energy even when not in use
5. Keep all electrical devices and outlets away from water
Water and electricity are a deadly combination. If electricity hits the water, it can cause severe damage to appliances or even lead to personal injuries. Keeping electrical devices dry and away from the water can help prevent damage to appliances and protect against injury or electrocution.
Electricity is part of everyone’s life. However, taking extra caution helps prevent electrical mishaps. Apply these simple tips in your household to keep yourself, your family, and your property safe. In case of any problems, always call in the professionals.