When it comes to the electricity in our homes, most of us take it for granted. We flip a switch and the lights come on. We assume our water will be hot and our coffee pot will work every morning. It’s only normal.
While electricity is a given in most homes, it’s still a powerful and potentially dangerous force. With this in mind, it’s important to understand how to work safely with your home’s electricity and avoid preventable accidents.
Here are our team’s top tips:
1. Childproof all Outlets
If you have young kids in the home, or if you plan on having children in the next few years, invest in some childproof outlet protectors for your home’s living spaces.
When children start crawling and walking, they develop a deep curiosity about the world around them. Unfortunately, outlets are at the perfect height for little fingers, and uncovered outlets can easily present a danger to babies and toddlers.
While there are many types of outlet protectors available, we recommend the spring-loaded varieties that automatically cover outlets that are not in use.
2. Avoid Overloading Outlets
Each outlet in your home is meant to supply a designated amount of energy. When you “overload” the outlet by plugging in too many high-wattage items, though, it can create a dangerous situation.
Instead, rearrange appliances to take some of the stress off of an overloaded outlet. Alternately, invest in a high-quality power strip with multiple outlets.
3. Cut the Power Before DIY Projects
If you’re doing any DIY electrical work at your home, be sure to cut the power at the circuit breaker box before you begin. While this may seem like overkill for small jobs, it’s the safest way to ensure that whatever you’re working on won’t have any power running to it.
4. Think Twice About Extension Cords
Extension cords are a handy tool, but they’re only meant for occasional use. If you find that you’re using extension cords as a permanent source of power, contact your local electrical team to have an outlet installed, instead.
Here’s another important electrical safety tip: make sure to leave any extension cords you are using exposed, rather than covering them with carpets or other flooring material.
5. Install GFCIs
GFCIs, or ground fault circuit interrupters, are a critical electrical safety mechanism, especially for outlets installed near a source of water (such as kitchens and bathrooms).
GFCIs work like mini circuit breakers, cutting the current the moment a surge happens, thus preventing electrical shocks and dangerous conditions.
While GFCIs are required in new homes, older homes may not have them. If you don’t have GFCIs in your kitchen or bathroom, contact an electrical team to install them for you.
6. Be Careful What you DIY
It’s tempting to try your hand at an ambitious DIY project now and again. When it comes to electrical work, though, it pays to be careful.
While there are certainly electrical DIY projects that are safe for the handy homeowner, any electrical job involves some risk.
With that in mind, contact a professional any time you’re doing something like adding a new circuit to the breaker panel or rewiring that light fixture.
7. Label Your Home’s Breakers
Whether you’re experiencing an emergency or just doing some minor maintenance work, the last thing you want is to find yourself staring at the switches in the breaker box, wondering what is what.
To prevent this, label each breaker switch with the room it controls. This makes controlling your home’s power safer, easier, and less frustrating.
Knowledge is Power
When it’s up to code and working correctly, your home’s electrical system is very safe. Still, it pays to understand common household electrical risks, and how to avoid them. When you take control of your electrical safety, your whole family benefits.
If you have questions about your electrical system or need electrical updates or repairs, contact our team. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and provide the high-quality electrical services you’ve come to expect.