In the past few decades, technology has advanced to the point where we can now control our homes with the touch of a button. Outlets now have switches to control your lights, outlets on your walls to control temperature, and outlets in your ceiling to control lighting. This is all very convenient, but it has also made it very easy to overlook electrical safety. In fact, according to the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, “the most common cause of death in the home is an electrical accident.” So, how do you protect yourself and your family? Here are some electrical safety tips.
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Keep devices and outlets away from water
When it comes to electrical safety, water and electricity just don’t mix. That’s why it is important to keep devices and outlets away from water. This is particularly important if you’re in an area that has frequent or heavy rain. Electrical devices and outlets should never be exposed to water. Electrical devices can be damaged without water actually touching electric parts. If water comes in contact with an electrical device, immediately unplug it and contact a certified residential electrical company for an inspection. If water does get into an electrical outlet or device, turn off the power to the device or outlet immediately. Never try to dry out electrical devices or outlets. Let a professional do it for you.
Unplug appliances when not in use
A common mistake that people make is leaving their appliances plugged in when they aren’t being used. Appliances will always produce heat. This heat is what makes these appliances work. However, when an appliance is not in use, it is unnecessary to use the heat it produces. Unplugging appliances is a good way to save energy, but it also reduces the risk of fire breaking out.
While this isn’t a big deal for most appliances, some, such as your dryer, can start a fire when they’re plugged in. To keep your home safe, take the time to unplug the appliances you don’t use very often.
Get rid of damaged cords
It’s every homeowner’s nightmare. One day you are sitting at home, enjoying a quiet evening and suddenly, you hear a loud pop, and the lights go out. You check the circuit breakers but make no mistake; there is no power. You may have just experienced an electrical fire or, worse, a home invasion. In the US, most home fires are caused by electrical issues. This is why it is important to ensure your home is safe from electrical issues. The problem is that most people do not know where to start. The first step is to remove all damaged cords and replace them with new ones. Check the plugs, as they can sometimes become jagged or cracked.
If you are living in a home with an electrical short, a damaged cord is the first thing to look for. Damaged cords make it possible for current to leak into the inside of the walls, which could cause a fire or shock. Look at the cord to see if it is frayed or cracked. If the cord has been damaged by a pet, child or other accident, do not wait to get rid of it. Go to the hardware store and find a replacement that is the right size and has the right plugs for your appliances.
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Don’t allow wires to overlap
There are a couple of different reasons why you shouldn’t allow wires to overlap. The first reason is that they can short circuit. Short-circuiting occurs when two wires touch each other, and the current is able to travel across the wires instead of through them. This can have some pretty nasty consequences, including a fire. Another reason why you shouldn’t allow wires to overlap is that they can come loose. This can result in a short circuit but also increases the likelihood of a fire. The last reason you shouldn’t allow wires to overlap is that they look messy. Looks may not be everything, but a messy desk is just not as inviting to work on as a clean and organized one.
Overlapping wires can cause a lot of damage over time. That’s because the copper in wires can act as a conduit for electricity. When the wires overlap, electricity can flow from one wire to the other and cause a short circuit that can lead to a fire.
Don’t overload outlets
Overloading an outlet is one of the easiest ways to cause a fire. It’s also a common mistake. It’s not difficult to overload an outlet. If your home has multiple devices plugged in at one time, you may overload an outlet. An outlet with a light and a night light plugged in is overloaded. An outlet with a fan, a lamp and a phone charger is overloaded. It only takes one plug to overload an outlet. So, be mindful of what you have plugged in at one time.
Every outlet in your home should have its own circuit, and you should only plug in the number of devices that can be safely used on one outlet. For example, a space heater should not be plugged into the same outlet as the TV. If you have to plug something into the same outlet as another device, use a power strip rather than plugging two things directly into the same outlet.