Electricity has made life easy in many homes, but it can be hazardous if not handled carefully. Fire departments respond to an estimated average of about 46,700 home fires resulting from electrical malfunction and failures yearly. Thankfully, you can prevent most electrical fires and keep your electricity working more efficiently by taking extra precautions. Here are the top 10 electrical safety tips you should follow to protect your home and family from electrical hazards.
Invest in Premium Quality Electrical Products
Always go for premium quality electrical products when seeking to replace or install new electrical fixtures. They will minimize frequent electrical breakdowns and malfunctions, saving you money in the long run. In addition, quality electrical fixtures come with safety assurance, minimizing the occurrence of an injury if something fails. Ensure you buy all your products from a reputable, certified electrical supplier to avoid counterfeits.
Avoid Overloading Electrical Outlets
Plugging several appliances into a single electrical outlet at a go can cause a significant danger to your home’s electrical system. Overloading outlets may result in certain appliances like refrigerators shutting off unexpectedly or stopping working entirely because of overheating problems.
To avoid this, plug only one heat-producing device into an electrical outlet at a time. Ensure that you plug all major appliances like laundry machines and refrigerators directly into the wall, not on extension cords or adapters. You might also consider installing a circuit breaker to minimize electrical overload.
Replace Damaged Extension Cords
Extension cords add extra length to electrical cables but can also be dangerous if not used properly or well maintained. The most common problem is overheating, which can cause extension cords to melt or catch fire. You should replace your extension cords every few years, or immediately they get damaged. If you’re unsure how long you’ve had your extension cord, use the manufacturer’s label to determine when you should replace it. Updating your extension cords will help avoid surges, sparks, and electrical fires.
Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a device that protects people from shock, burns, and electrocution by shutting off a circuit when it senses that the wiring is not grounded correctly.
It does this by interrupting power to any circuit where it detects a difference in the voltage between two wires. This can be caused by a person touching the wire and causing a shock or someone standing on a wet surface and accidentally making contact with an exposed wire. The GFCI will not allow electricity through if there is an imbalance in the voltage between two wires. You can install the GFCI in the kitchen and bathrooms. If you are unsure how to install a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) or how it works, you can always ask a professional electrical repair in Gloucester, VA, who can assist you and provide you with information about your Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.
Use a Surge Protector
You can use a surge protector to protect your electrical appliances from sudden power surges and voltage spikes. It can also protect you from electrical shock and keep your home safe from outside power lines. A surge protector works by driving current from an electrical outlet and allowing it to pass through to all the devices plugged into it. Most surge protectors have metal oxide varistors which enable them to divert any excess voltage to deliver consistent power levels to all the connected devices.
Unplug All Appliances When Not in Use
Unplugging those appliances you are not using will minimize the risk of overheating and overloading outlets. It also helps control your energy consumption and shield your devices from any electrical mishaps and surges. The Department of Energy estimates that you could save about 10% each month by unplugging appliances when they are not in use. This also helps extend the life of your devices and appliances while lowering the risk of electrical fires.
Use the Ideal Wattage for Lighting Fixtures and Lamps
It would be best to adhere to the recommended wattage to keep your bulbs and lamps shining safely and avoid electrical faults. When selecting the proper wattage for lighting fixtures and lamps, follow the guidelines below:
- Keep your lighting at 60 watts or less; the most preferred is 40 watts. Avoid placing more than one bulb in a lamp unless you have double switches to turn on the light bulbs separately.
- Avoid mixing the newest energy-efficient bulbs with the old incandescent ones, as they consume different energy amounts. Thus, they may lead to flickering and even fire hazards.
- Suppose you have children who are afraid of sleeping in the dark. Use night lights rather than table lamps. Night lights are also a perfect choice for those adults who don’t like excess brightness.
- Every bulb should have a sticker indicating its maximum wattage.
- Use lamps with a globe or a shade to minimize the heating of nearby items, especially if you use incandescent bulbs.
Install Arc-fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)
According to an Electrical Safety Council International report, arcing faults account for over 28,000 home fires yearly in the United States, causing more than $700 million in property damage and killing hundreds of people.
Fortunately, you can install arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI) to prevent such fires and damage. AFCI breakers are a type of fuse that trips when an arcing fault occurs. These advanced new safety devices prevent fires and electrocution by tripping the breaker before damage happens. They are more effective at detecting dangerous conditions than standard breakers.
Keep Electrical Tools and Appliances Away From Water Sources
You must ensure that water does not come into contact with any appliance or device plugged into a power cord or an outlet. Some items often exposed to water include vacuum cleaners, blenders, dishwashers, and coffee pots. Using these items after getting in contact with water poses potential risks.
Regularly Inspections and Testing
You can hire a qualified electrician to thoroughly inspect your home electrical system and confirm if all your electrical work meets the required safety provisions. An electrical system inspection will enable you to identify faults before they become hazardous and minimize damage to irreplaceable items
It will also save you money since you will get to identify and replace faulty electricals that cause high electricity bills. Regular electrical system inspection further enables you to remain compliant with electrical standards.
These electrical safety tips will enable you to avoid severe electrical issues and fires. You will also save money on energy bills and avoid costly repairs. Call an electrical professional immediately if you notice anything odd in your electrical system, such as flickering lights and frequently tripping circuits.