Electrical Safety Tips for the Homeowner
Electricity makes our lives easier. However, we need to be cautious and keep safety in mind.
Flipping a light switch. Plugging in a coffee maker. Charging a laptop computer. These are second nature for most of us.
Here are some safety tips from our friends at The National Fire Protection Association.
A) Have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician.
B) When you are buying or remodeling a home, have it inspected by a qualified private inspector or in accordance with local requirements.
C) Only use one heat producing appliances such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc. plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time.
D) Extension cords and plug strips should not be used for major appliances such as refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air-conditioners, microwave ovens, etc. These should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet.
E) Arc-fault circuit interrupters otherwise known as AFCI’s shut off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Consider having them installed in your home.
F) Consider having ground–fault circuit interrupters installed - GCFI. These reduce the risk of shock they shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard. They should be installed inside the home in bathrooms, kitchen, garages and basements. All outdoor receptacles should be ground-fault circuit interrupter protected.
G) Test your ACFIs and GFCIs once a month according to the manufacturers recommendations. You do not need a flame to start a fire. Fire can start when heat builds up near things that burn. This can happen when a hot light bulb is near things that burn. Things such as cloth or paper, or a cord that has been placed under a carpet.
H) Consider using ground – fault circuit interrupters to reduce the risk of shock. These items shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard. They should be installed inside the home and bathrooms, kitchen, garages and basements. All outdoor receptacles should be GFCI protected.
I) Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords are intended for temporary use. Have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords.
J) When installing light bulbs be sure to make sure the number of watts is applicable for the product. There should be a sticker that indicates the right number of watts.
Here are some additional thoughts:
Call a qualified electrician or if you rent your landlord if you have:
A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance.
Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers.
Flickering or dimming lights.
Discolored or warm wall outlets.
A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance.
Sparks from an outlet.
Simple safety precautions save lives and property.