Since it was discovered, electricity has become a very important element of our lives. Modern society needs electric power for everything from lightning, heating and cooking, to connecting with others, entertainment and so many other things. We use it 24/7 and because it has become a natural part of our daily lives, we just do not think about how powerful and dangerous electricity actually is. These tips should remind you the most important do’s and don’t to maintain electrical safety around your home.
1. Do not overheat your outlets
Many electrical fires are caused by overheated outlets. Do not plug a bunch of sockets into one outlet or extension cord. It could damage the electrical system in your house or even cause a fire. Also constantly check all your outlets and make sure none of them have loose fitting plugs – they can overheat and lead to a fire as well. If there are any children at home, make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets.
2. Use plugs wisely
One of the most basic things to do is to make sure all your plugs fit snugly into outlets. If yours do not, contact a certificated electrician. If you have a 3-conductor plug, never break off the third prong from it since the removal would defeat the safety feature. Also, keep all major devices (such as refrigerators, washers, air conditioners, etc.) plugged directly into a wall outlet. Avoid using plug strips or extension cords for large appliances since they require a lot of power and frequently cycle on and off, which can easily overload a power strip.
3. Keep cords in good condition
Every electrical appliance has a cord and it is very important to keep them in good condition so they would not become fire hazards. First of all, even though all cords need to be kept out of sight, never run a cord under the rug – it could lead to a fire. Secondly, check cords regularly for frays, cracks or kinks and if you find any – replace the cord immediately. Finally, pull the plug, not the cable, when disconnecting an electrical device.
4. Power down
Turn all your devices off at the plug when you’re not using them. This will not only save you money but also reduce the risk of fire. If your sockets are not easy to reach, it is worth it investing in an energy saving extension bar which would enable you to turn off all the appliances with one simple push of a button. Of course, this tip is not applicable to devices which were designed to stay plugged in (e.g. refrigerator).
5. Take extra precautions whilst in the kitchen
The kitchen is a part of a house where the risk of an electrical accident is extremely high. One of the most popular mistakes is using electronic devices or switches with wet hands – never do this. Another useful tip is keeping your oven and microwave clean – this will not only improve the performance of these devices, but also reduce the risk of fire. Finally, invest in smoke alarm – one day it could save your life.
6. Use only the right light bulbs
Every light fitting has its own size and requires light bulbs only with certain amount of wattage. Sometimes people do not follow these requirements and buy bulbs with higher wattage than recommended. If this is the case for you, remove such light bulbs immediately and replace them with correct wattage bulbs. Also double check if all the light bulbs at your home are screwed in securely, otherwise they may overheat.
7. Keep all your appliances in a safe place
All appliances that generate heat (e.g. refrigerators, freezers, TV’s, computers, etc.) should be given extra place for good ventilation. You should never drape clothes on these appliances. Moreover, always keep all your electrical devices away from water sources such as sinks, bathtubs or sinks.
8. Take special safety measures during a thunderstorm
Lightning strikes cause power surges that can burn out the electronic devices which are plugged in during a thunderstorm. Besides physical damage which could be done to your devices, you are also risking to lose important files on your computers or mobile phones, and, of course, have the whole house set on fire. Moreover, never use your mobile phone during the thunderstorm since you will be at a high risk of getting electric shock.
9. Develop a habit to perform constant electrical checks
Whether we like it or not, there are household duties we just cannot ignore. And the best way to cope with them is to develop a habit of performing them on a constant basis. So as every home has its own bathroom cleaning routine, electrical safety checks should have their own schedule as well. You do not need to be an electrician to notice damaged wires or broken sockets, however, you should hire an electrician to professionally check your home once a year for your own safety.
10. Don’t die trying to be an electrician
Whilst some people think they can do the job themselves, wiring and more complex electrical related works should be carried out by professional electricians only. Working with electricity is very dangerous and nearly half of all severe electric shocks in the home are result of unsuccessful DIY attempts. Hiring a certified electrician can help to avoid any potential harm to yourself, your family or your home.