Home Safety Tips

Home Electrical Safety Tips

Use the following tips as a guide to help keep your family safe from electrical dangers & fire at home. Sometimes the most obvious bits of advice can be the easiest to overlook.

Electrical Cords

Use electrical appliances, cords & fixtures in your home listed by an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories.  It is tempting to try and repair cords with a splice and tape, but it is not worth the risk.  If a long cord is damaged in the middle, consider instead buying a new male and female plug end and turning your long cord into two.

Keep electrical cords out of traffic areas.

Keep all cords in a good state  & not knotted or coiled or pinched under furniture or rugs.

If your home has baseboard heaters, make sure not to run cords underneath. The fins on the heater get very hot and can melt through the cord shorting out the conductor.

If you are using extension cords outside, make sure they are rated for that.  They cost a bit more, but are much more durable.

Make sure that extension cords are not overloaded. They ought to be plugged directly in to a wall outlet, not in to an outlet on a power strip.

GFCI

There are plenty of older homes.  Over the years, safety technology has come a long way. It is mandatory in new homes that wet areas, such as the kitchen, bathrooms, and exterior outlets, be protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). A peace of mind upgrade to your home.

All safety equipment needs regular testing and GFCIs are no different. Push the check button on your GFCIs every month to find out if they are operating properly. Especially on outdoor plugs. Exposure to weather can cause these devices to fail and they will need to be replaced.

Light Fixtures

Use the safe light bulb wattage for each light fixture. In a low light areas, it can be tempting to simply replace a bulb with a higher wattage one.  However, this can cause a fire hazard when the fixture is not rated to deal with the heat.  The simplest solution would be to change the 60W incandescent bulb with an LED bulb with a higher Lumen rating.  Even better would be to change a one lamp fixture to a two or three lamp fixture.

Switches and Receptacles

Be cautious not to leave faceplates off of outlets or switches. They can be fragile but a broken faceplate can be replaced for under a dollar.

Make sure outdoor outlets have waterproof covers that close automatically.

Be sure that outlets are not loose or wobble. It is not just an annoyance, it is a hazard. An outlet or switch can be replaced for about two dollars. Have an electrician replace any broken outlets or switches.

Portable Appliances

Keep all electrically-powered appliances & equipment dry & kept them away from places where water is used.

Keep portable space heaters away from combustibles such as curtains or stacks of newspapers.

Keep in mind to unplug all counter top appliances when not in use.

Keep counter top electrical appliances located away from the sink, & their cords away from hot surfaces.

Keep little electrical appliances such as hair dryers, curling irons, & razors away from water & unplugged & stored when not in use.

Make sure electric blankets are in perfect working order & unplugged when not in use.

Make sure all power tools are equipped with 3-prong plugs or marked to indicate that they are double insulated. Do not remove the ground prong for any reason. If the ground prong breaks off, don’t use the tool and replace the plug. New ones are not expensive.

Make sure halogen lamps are away from drapes or anything else that that can burn very easy. Never touch a halogen bulb, or any other glass part of the lamp that is near the bulb, along with your bare hands when replacing it.

Have computer equipment, & other electronic devices connected to a surge suppressor.

Panels and Fuse boxes

If fuses are used, make sure they are the correct size for the circuits they protect.

Make sure everyone knows where the main breaker is to turn off all power to the house in case of an electrical fire, or other emergency.

If any appliance blows a fuse, or trips a breaker often, or gives you a shock, have an electrician to  repair it or replace it.

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