Hiller Know-How: Electrical Safety 101



Every year, electrical products and systems cause fires, injuries, and even deaths. However, there are ways to prevent these issues from occurring in your home.

Smoke detectors need to be checked frequently, and if the low-battery warning goes off, make sure to change them immediately. And don’t forget about all your other electrical products! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that you inspect your home every six months. 

Here are some tips for conducting a thorough inspection of all the electrical products in your home:

ALL ROOMS

Lights: Check every single light in the room—is each light bulb the correct wattage for the fixture? If not, make sure you switch out the bulb(s) to match the recommended wattage.

Outlets and Switches: If you have young children, make sure all outlets have safety covers. Also,

  • Are all outlets and switches working? If not, call an electrician.
  • Are all outlets and switches cool to the touch? If they are unusually warm, it is an indication of unsafe wiring and an appliance is probably overloading the outlet. Stop using them immediately. Call an electrician to come and check out the problem.
  • Do your electrical plugs fit snugly into the outlet? If not, you need to replace the outlet(s).
  • Check all outlet faceplates—are there any cracks or visible damage? If so, replace immediately.

Extension Cords: Extension cords are NOT part of your home’s electrical system. They should only be used in temporary situations. When being used:

  • Make sure you do not run an extension cord under a rug.
  • Do not use cracked or very old cords.
  • Do not overload an extension cord—check the cord’s rating label to make sure it matches with the appliance (you may have to upgrade to a higher-rated cord for different appliances).

KITCHEN

  • Check to make sure all counter top appliances are unplugged when they are not being used.
  • Check to make sure all counter top appliances are located away from the sink, and all counter top appliance cords are not coming in contact with hot surfaces.
  • Check and remove any combustible products from the top areas of large appliances.
  • Note: if any counter top or large appliances have ever given you a shock, do not touch or use the appliance until an electrician has checked it.

 

BATHROOMS

  • Make sure all appliances are unplugged when not in use.
  • Check that all appliances are stored away from the sink, shower and bathtub. Make sure when using appliances, they are not used in close contact with the sink, shower or tub.
  • All appliances should be in good condition (no damage to wires or wire covering). If an appliance ever begins to smoke or spark, discard and replace it.

OTHER AREAS

Fuse Box/Circuit Breaker:

  • Make sure all fuses are the correct size for the circuit.
  • Routinely test your breaker—this should be done at least once a year.

Outdoor electrical outlets:

  • Check that each outdoor outlet has a waterproof cover.

Electric Tools:

  • Check that all power cords are in good condition (no damage or exposed wires).
  • Make sure that all electrical tools are not being used around wet locations—if repairs in these locations are necessary try to use battery-powered tools.

Home electrical safety is very important. Incorrect bulb wattage can overheat the fixture or wiring and cause a fire; grounding an adapter lessens the risk of fire or personal injury due to shock; and open outlets and defective switches can be extremely hazardous for children, causing serious injuries and possible death due to electric shock.

Routine inspections can help you prevent damage and personal injury—so keep your home and family safe by using our checklist once or twice a year. If any of the items don’t check out, make sure you call an electrician to come inspect the problem. We always have professionals ready-at-hand.

If you have any further questions about your home’s electrical safety, please call us at 402-339-0524. Or you can contact us via the contact page on our site.


photo credit: Cineastes 1:1 via photopin cc