Electrical Safety Tips Every Homeowner Should Know
Thousands of cases of home electrical fires, electrocution, and electricity-related incidents are being reported every year. This makes it very important to understand various hazards of electricity and follow electrical safety tips to ensure home and family protection.
This article discusses various electrical safety tips every homeowner should know for safe living and avoiding electricity-related incidents.
Common Causes of Electrical Fires in Homes
The common causes of electrical fire include the following:
- Faulty or damaged wiring
- Faulty or damaged electrical equipment
- Overloading of the power outlets
- Electrical issues related to lamps, plugs, light fixtures, and cords
- Electrical issues related to transformers and other power supplies
A majority of electricity-related accidents takes place due to limited or lack of knowledge regarding electrical safety. Whenever you have any doubts regarding the potential fire hazards in your home, make sure to consult with a professional at the earliest.
Electrical Safety Tips for Your Home
Whenever you attempt to do any electrical work at home, ensure to exercise due caution as electrical related work is hazardous. Hire a professional and trusted electrician for ensuring all the electrical systems are safe and working correctly.
Although electrical maintenance is a crucial household task, it can get very lethal if not handled properly. So let’s go through some helpful electrical safety tips for avoiding electrical oversights and preventing accidents.
Make Sure That Your Electrical Devices Are Working Properly and Using the Correct Wattage
You should ensure that all your electrical appliances are working correctly. Check for the presence of any malfunctions in electrical appliances. Make sure every device is plugged in correctly and using the optimal wattage.
You must use the right bulbs and check all the appliances, lamps, and fixtures to confirm these are running on correct wattage. If you have a light fixture without any wattage listed, you should use it for 60-watt bulbs or lesser.
If you have ceiling fixtures without any wattage listed, use 25-watt bulbs. However, you should use LED bulbs as far as possible as these bulbs consume less power and prevent the overheating risks of fixtures.
Keep the Main Supplies off During Electrical Maintenance Work
When you are doing any major repair or maintenance work on your home’s electrical system, ensure to switch off the main power. This helps in avoiding electrical shocks and accidents.
Similarly, while doing small power outlet related maintenance, ensure to keep the plug points powered off.
Ensure to Unplug All Your Unused Electrical Equipment
One of the easy ways of avoiding potential electrical hazards is to unplug the unused electrical appliances. For example, if you are not watching television, using AC, or working on your computer, ensure to unplug them.
Unplugging electrical appliances like electric grills or electric buffet servers that are not used; helps you save power by minimizing phantom drains and protecting them against power surges and overheating.
If you tend to forget to unplug unused electrical appliances, use new generation smart plugs that allow you to set power schedules for your power outlets.
Check the power outlets of your house every month to see if they are warm or cold. The warm power outlets indicate various electrical issues like shot up wiring, overloaded electrical circuit, etc.
Repair or Replace Your Damaged Electrical Cords
Take great care of your used as well as unused electrical cords and keep them tidy to prevent damage. Ensure that unused cords are stored safely away from kids and pets. Avoid wrapping your electrical cords tightly around your electrical appliances or other objects.
The wrapped electrical cords get stretched and result in overheating. Never keep your cords on hot surfaces for maintaining the proper insulation and wiring your cords.
Whenever you notice any damaged power cords, try to get them repaired or replaced immediately. This is because damaged power cords pose serious electrical safety risks. These may also cause electrical fires and electrocution.
Check all the power cords regularly for detecting signs of cracking and fraying. Also, ensure that your power cords are not running under furniture or rugs because the furniture can damage the cord insulation and wires while rugs result in overheating and pose tripping hazards.
Make minimal use of extension cords and ask a qualified electrician to install additional outlets in rooms as per your needs. Ensure to purchase a power cord that can easily handle the expected electrical load.
Avoid Using Extension Cords for Longer Periods
Even though the extension cords provide great convenience in the short term, they should not be used as a permanent setup for accessing electricity. Instead, it’s better to get the additional power outlet installed if you find yourself using an extension cord all the time.
Ground Older Appliances
As your appliances get older, they are subjected to normal wear & tear and develop grounding issues. Such older appliances pose a risk of shock and need to be grounded.
Always use appliances with three-pronged plugs so that these can be connected properly to a grounded outlet. Replace your household appliances that have two-pronged plugs with appliances that possess three-pronged plugs.
Use Built-in Furnaces and Water Heaters Carefully for Avoiding Potential Accidents
You should keep the combustible items away from portable water heaters and built-in furnaces. For enhanced safety of your furnaces, store the combustibles away from your heating appliances.
Keep portable heaters away from drapes and place them on a stable surface. Be aware of the temperature settings of your water heater because the high-temperature settings increase energy usage and cause burns.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher in Working Condition
Ensure that you have a fully functional fire extinguisher in your house. Whenever there is any accidental fire accident in the house, douse the fire using a fire extinguisher. Avoid using water as it is a good conductor of electricity.
Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters in Rooms With Running Water
Install GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters) in your kitchen, laundry, and bathroom to avoid any accidental fire mishaps. These GFCI’s are designed to shut off the electricity from a circuit whenever the circuit malfunctions and becomes a shock hazard.
Install Electrical Devices and Outlets Away From the Water Supply
You must keep electrical equipment dry to avoid incidences of electrical shocks. As per electrical safety rules, install your electrical devices away from water. This avoids personal injury and electrocution while preventing electrical appliances from damage.
It is imperative to keep your hands dry while working with electrical appliances. Keep your electrical appliances away from water sources in the house like bathtubs, aquariums, showers, sinks, etc. This reduces the chances of contact between electricity and water.
Clean the Exhaust Fans of Your Appliances Regularly for Avoiding Fire Hazards
If your electrical appliances have exhaust fans, ensure to clean them regularly. These exhaust fans easily get clogged by the accumulation of dirt and debris. This hampers the performance of the appliances and shortens their lives.
In severe cases, the clogged exhaust fans risk electrical fire hazards to the home because of overheating or the build-up of dangerous gases. Thus, you must clean exhaust fans regularly for preventing fire hazards.
Ensure That There Is Adequate Space Around Your Appliances for Air Circulation to Avoid Overheating
In the absence of proper air circulation around your electrical equipment, they can get overheated, short out, and pose a risk of electrical fire hazards. Make sure your appliances have proper air circulation and don’t operate electrical appliances in enclosed cabinets.
Store any inflammable objects such as your gas away from your electrical appliances for ensuring enhanced electrical safety. I
Avoid Overloading Your Power Outlets
A power outlet is designed to handle only a limited amount of energy. Don’t overload a single outlet by plugging in multiple high-wattage appliances as it is very unsafe. Overloading a power outlet is among the common causes of various electricity issues.
If you don’t have different outlets for plugging in your appliances, install new ones for reducing the stress on a single outlet. Check your power outlets if they are cool to touch, working correctly, and feature protective faceplates; for ensuring optimal electrical safety.
As per ESFI, you can follow the below-mentioned electrical outlet safety tips:
- Use one heat-producing electrical appliance at a time.
- Get your hot electricity outlets checked by qualified electricians.
- Avoid using extension cords for plugging in different electrical appliances.
- Use smart plugs for monitoring the power outlet loads. These plugs can also cut off the power supply to appliances if the outlet begins to overheat.
Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions Carefully Before Using an Electrical Appliance
If you want to enhance your home’s electrical safety, you must read the instructions regarding how to operate your electrical appliances safely. It not only enhances your safety but also improves the performance of your electrical appliances.
Electrical Safety for Kids
It’s very challenging to keep your little kids safe from various electrical appliances in your home. The young kids are inquisitive by nature, and to protect them against electrical hazards, you must teach them electrical safety tips to stay alert and safe.
Keep All the Electrical Sockets Covered
You must keep the electrical sockets covered by installing the safety caps and covers. This
keeps your kids safe, prevents them from inserting different objects into the power outlet, and thereby protects them against accidental electric shocks.
Teaching Kids to Avoid Pulling Electrical Cords
Teach your kids to avoid playing with electrical cords as it is hazardous. Instruct them to avoid pulling electrical cords as it can damage the cord and increase the risks of electrical hazards.
You can show the kids the correct way of pulling cords from an outlet by holding the plug.
Ensure That Dangerous Appliances Are Out of Reach of Kids
Keep your dangerous electrical appliances away from small children. Ensure to store electric kettles, toasters, and blenders in locked cupboards or high shelves so that kids can’t access them.
Once your kids are old enough to operate the electrical appliances, teach them about electrical safety tips to follow at home. Educate them about electricity and how it powers various electrical appliances.