Staying safe when dealing with electricity at home is important.
As a homeowner, there some things we need to understand regarding our electrical system. Electrical issues can pose serious health and safety risk if left unattended. Most of the electricity-related accidents that happen at home are due to a lack of knowledge of electrical safety.
The ability to identify electrical problems that are not very obvious to the casual observer before they can cause some issues in the home is an important skill that every homeowner should have. Professionals at KM Electric gives 12 electrical safety tips homeowners need to know to prevent accidents and avoid any major issues in your home.
- Know the Age of Your Home
For safety reasons, you need to keep track of how old your home is. If you have an older home your electrical system may not be able to handle the demands of modern life. It is best to schedule a general inspection of your wiring and circuits to assess the condition of your home. Know if your home’s electrical system is updated, make sure to have a professional safety inspection at least once a year.
- Learn How to Turn Off the Power
You may need to turn the power off if you’re seeing signs of a wiring problem. You also need to do this if you’re doing some home improvements that involve electrical connections.
To turn the power off to your entire home, flip the switch at the top of your main electrical panel. If you only need to cut off electricity for certain parts of the house shut off the branch circuit breakers. If you’re using an old fuse box, pull the switch and pull out the fuse block. If you’re turning off power to a specific part of the house, unscrew some fuses. If you’re not sure which breaker control your rooms, shut off the power to the entire house.
- Avoid Using Extension Cords for Long Periods
Extension cords are not designed to be a permanent electrical outlet and shouldn’t be used to increase the number of plugs per outlets. Extensions give added length to your appliance if it’s not close enough. It should be for temporary use only. If you consistently need to use an extension cord in a room, get a proper multi-plug or power bar or it’s better to call a residential electrician to have an electrical outlet installed.
- Childproof Your Outlets
Kids are always curious and outlets are the perfect place to shove things in and get hurt. If you have young kids put a tamper-resistant safety caps on all your unused electrical outlets. Tie up all loose cords and put out of children’s’ reach to avoid them from tugging on it. There are different outlet covers but we find the spring-loaded type that automatically covers the outlet the best. You can also prevent shocks by arranging your furniture to block the outlets from view.
- Don’t Overload Your Outlets
Plugging too many appliances and gadgets into outlets is the cause of many house fires. Overloading an outlet can cause a spark and start a fire. Keep your outlet load at a reasonable level. A proper power bar with a surge protector to expand up to 6 plugs is the maximum safe limit. Avoid running all 6 devices at one time.
Some signs of overloading are flickering lights or discolored wall plates. To prevent this, reduce the use of multi-outlet converters. Make sure major appliances like TV and fridge are plugged directly into a wall outlet.
- Feel Your Outlets
It’s a good practice to place your hand on the various outlets in your home. Warm or hot outlets means there’s trouble. A warm outlet is a signal that there is a dangerous electrical situation that might happen, including overload, wiring is not up to code, the wiring could be melting, or wire might be loose.
Also, check if your outlet can’t hold a plug, or the outlet is loose on the wall. Call a professional electrician to replace any two-pronged outlets with newer three-pronged for added safety of your home.
- Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (CFGI’S)
All electrical outlets near sources of water such as kitchens, bathrooms or laundry areas should be equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter. CFGI works like small circuit breakers that cut the current in the instant of a surge which prevents shocks when the outlet gets wet.
If you live in an old home, please check if your kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry area are all equipped with CFGI’s, if not call a residential electrician to have them installed.
- Understand How the Breakers Work
If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, check if there’s overloading. Constantly tripping breaker is a sure sign that you have too many appliances or gadgets connected to the same circuit. It will be a good idea to reconfigure how your appliances and devices are plugged in. If it continues to trip call a professional.
- Look for Signs of Bad or Faulty Wiring
Bad wiring is one of the major causes of home fires. Damaged or worn wires can trigger fires because power flows through it. Signs of faulty wiring include:
- Outlets that produce shocks when touched
- Flickering or dimming lights
- Breakers and fuses that frequently goes out
- Discolored outlets or switches
- Burning smell
- Plugs and Extension Cords
Do you have appliances directly plugged into outlets or several extension cords? Here are some tips when you’re using extension cords:
- Keep extension cords away from damp areas or areas with water
- Do not pull the cord, instead pull the plug itself when removing an electrical device.
- It is best to unplug appliances if they are not in use.
- It’s recommended to have a professional repair home appliance.
- Be Mindful of the DIYs
Any handy DIY homeowner might try to do electrical work, but there is a lot more risk involved because of the electricity. Know your abilities before trying to do any electrical fixes in your home. Don’t try to do anything that is beyond your experience. A YouTube tutorial will not be enough to teach you how to rewire a new light fixture or add a new circuit to the breaker panel.
- In Case of Fire
If you’re faced with an electrical fire, do not try to put it out with water because it is an electrical conductor and you will get electrocuted. Make sure you have a household fire extinguisher that is safe for fires caused by electricity.
Know when to call a professional
If you have an electrical issue and you don’t know what to do, call an experienced residential electrician for help. To make sure all the electrical systems in your home are safe and up to code. An electrician can help you avoid accidents that could lead to shocks and fire in the future.
Our trained electricians are here to help. We will evaluate your electrical systems and make recommendations on how to fix it. Call KM Electric today to schedule a home electrical inspection.