You power your home with energy from electricity. It’s what keeps the lights on and your appliances running. But when something goes wrong with your electrical system, it can be a significant problem. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that electrical issues are responsible for an estimated 15,000 fires each year, resulting in 100 deaths and £250 million in property damage.
You need to take electrical problems seriously and address them right away to avoid a disaster in your home. If you’re dealing with electrical issues at home, there are some essential things you need to do to stay safe and protect your property:
1. Have Your Home’s Electrical System Inspected Regularly
Even if you’re being careful about electrical safety in your home, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect your home’s electrical system regularly. This is especially important if you live in an older home with outdated wiring. You can learn more here if you have questions about electricity inspection. A professional electrician will be able to identify any potential problems and make recommendations for repairs or upgrades. They can also install new outlets, switches, or other devices.
Most electricians recommend having your home’s electrical system inspected every two to three years. However, if you live in an older home or have noticed any warning signs of electrical problems, it’s good to have it inspected more frequently.
2. Always Follow Appliance Instructions for Improved Electrical Safety
Read the instructions that come with your appliances. Many people don’t bother reading them, but they contain vital information to improve your electrical safety. The instructions will tell you how to properly use and maintain your appliances and do not pose a risk of electrical fires or shocks. Should any appliances give you a slight shock when you touch them, unplug them immediately and have an electrician check them out. Most appliances shouldn’t give you a shock, so this needs to be addressed.
3. Watch Out for Overloaded Outlets and Extension Cords
One of the most common causes of electrical fires is overloaded outlets and extension cords. When you plug too many things into an outlet or extension cord, it can cause them to overheat and start a fire. Be mindful of how many things are plugged into each outlet to avoid this. If you need to use multiple appliances in one area, consider using a power strip so that you don’t overload a single outlet. And make sure that any extension cords you’re using are rated for the wattage of the appliances they’re being used with.
According to ESFI, you can follow these electrical outlet safety tips:
- Only plug one heat-producing appliance into an outlet at a time.
- Do not overload outlets.
- Inspect all electrical cords for cracks or fraying before use.
- Do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
- Use extension cords only temporarily.
4. Replace or Repair Damaged Electrical Cords
If an electrical cord is damaged, it needs to be replaced or repaired immediately. All power and extension cords should be checked regularly for damage, such as cracks, fraying, or loose wires. Don’t use the cord if you see any damage and have it replaced or repaired by a professional.
The use of extension cords regularly may mean that you don’t have enough outlets in your home. This is a common problem in older homes. If you find yourself using extension cords regularly, have an electrician come out and install more outlets for you. When purchasing new outlets, make sure they’re tamper-resistant so that small children can’t put anything into them.
5. Keep Flammable Materials Away from Electrical Sources
Flammable materials should always be kept away from electrical sources like outlets, appliances, and cords. This includes things like paper, fabric, cleaning supplies, and gasoline. If these materials come into contact with an electrical source, they could start a fire. Make sure your flammable materials are stored safely where they can’t come into contact with any electrical sources. And if you’re using flammable liquids like cleaners or gasoline, make sure to do so in well-ventilated areas to avoid the risk of fires or explosions.
6. Don’t Use Appliances in Wet Areas
Water and electricity don’t mix. It’s one of the most basic safety rules for electrical safety. But every year, people get injured or even killed by using appliances in wet areas. Remember that water conducts electricity, so if you’re using an appliance near water, there’s a risk of electrical shock. Even if you’re not using the appliance directly in the water, you could be electrocuted if it’s plugged into an outlet and gets wet.
Some examples of common wet areas where people use electrical appliances:
- Kitchens (near the sink)
- Bathrooms (near the tub or shower)
- Garages (near the car)
- Basements (near the washing machine)
If you must use an appliance in a wet area, make sure it’s properly grounded and use a GFCI outlet. With these safety measures in place, you can reduce the risk of electrical shock.
7. Don’t Ignore Warning Signs of Electrical Problems
There are warning signs that indicate there may be electrical problems in your home. Ignoring these warning signs can lead to dangerous and even deadly consequences.
Some common warning signs of electrical problems:
- Flickering or dimming lights
- Frequently blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers
- Appliances that feel hot to the touch
- Sparks or fire coming from outlets or appliances
- Burning smells near outlets or appliances
Any of these signs could indicate a serious electrical problem that needs to be addressed right away by a professional. Ignoring the problem could lead to an electrical fire or other serious consequences.
It is dangerous to handle electrical repairs yourself, but it can also void your home insurance policy. So if something goes wrong, you could be left with expensive repairs on your own. Electrical safety is something that everyone should take seriously. By following these simple tips, you can help to protect yourself and your family from electrical hazards. If you have any concerns about the safety of your home’s electrical system, don’t hesitate to contact a professional electrician. They’ll be able to safely diagnose and repair the problem so that you can avoid any further damage or danger.