Always Practice Home Electrical Safety
Home electrical safety should be the top priority in every household, especially when you consider that most house fires are caused by careless use of electricity, or sometimes faulty wiring.
The number one concern of every person is keeping their family safe. Most accidents happen in the home, and that includes many electrical accidents. People take electricity for granted. Not just by flipping a switch and expecting the lights to come on, but also by not giving it the respect it deserves.
We are so accustomed to having electricity in our lives, we tend to forget how dangerous it really is. Without even thinking about it, appliances are left unattended, electrical sockets are overloaded and ovens or burners are left on after the cooking is done.
Home Electrical Safety Checklist
Home electrical safety is not difficult, but it does take some effort. Here is a checklist of some of the potential dangers you should be aware of:
- Areas where electricity and water are both used, such as the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room should be protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter.
- Check the GFCI about once a month to ensure it is operating properly. This is done by simply pushing the check button.
- Keep electrical cords in good shape, not tangled, not pinched under furniture, and not in the line of traffic.
- Use the proper size and wattage of light bulbs in every light fixture.
- Never leave outlets or light switches without a face-plate.
- Never leave an electric space heater unattended, and never use one near combustible materials such as loose paper, curtains or furniture.
- Unplug and put away all small appliances when not in use – including hair dryers, hot irons, curling irons, electric razors and hand mixers.
- Keep the stove top clean to prevent a grease fire, and keep the area around the stove free of anything that may catch fire, such as plastic utensils, pot holders or towels.
- Keep outdoor outlets closed with waterproof covers when not in use.
- Always use extension cords properly, and make sure they are in good condition without any kinks or exposed wires.
- Never break off the third prong on a 3-prong plug. This may sound like a no-brainer, but many people still do this!
- Never overload an electrical outlet.
- Make sure outlets are in good shape, not falling out or loose and wobbly.
- Use a surge protector for computers and other electronic devices.
- If any appliance gives you a shock, have it looked at by a professional right away.
- Make sure none of the fuses in your fuse box have been replaced with a penny or other metal object, and make sure all of the electrical fuses are the correct rating. If you do find a penny or other metal object where a fuse should be, do not touch it or try to remove it by yourself – you could get a fatal shock. Call an electrician instead.
Other electrical hazards can occur during a lightning storm. When a storm hits, unplug all computers and other sensitive electronics such as televisions, home theaters and game consoles to prevent damage from a sudden voltage spike.
This is very easy to do if you have them all neatly plugged into a power bar, as you should. Simply turn off the power bar and unplug it from the wall. You could leave the power bar plugged in, but it is safer to remove it from the power source altogether.
Home electrical safety for your equipment is vastly improved if you install a surge protector. It will cut the power if there is a lightning strike, or other surge.
Avoid using electrical appliances during an electrical storm. The intense energy of a lightning bolt can give you a shock, as well as damage the appliance. A MythBusters challenge proved that it is possible to receive a fatal electric shock if you talk on the phone, or take a shower, during an electrical storm.
Your entire home should be properly grounded. If you are in doubt, have it inspected by an electrician. A properly ground home can prevent, or at least lessen the severity of many electrical hazards.
Home electrical safety is everyone’s responsibility. Make sure everyone in the household knows and understands these safety tips. And make extra sure everyone follows all safety rules, especially where electricity is involved.