Electrical safety practices should be known for most if not all the appliances inside your home that run on electricity. Almost 60% of all house fires are caused by an electrical malfunction, with firefighters responding to a yearly average of 45,000 house fires caused by an electrical failure or malfunction. Unfortunately, your house is full of safety hazards, but it doesn’t have to be with a few electrical safety practices.
How You Can Safely Enjoy Your Home’s Appliances With Electrical Safety Practices
All appliances wear down over time, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on your plugs and outlets. Old or outdated wiring, light fixtures, and electrical panels are all fire hazards, and damaged electronics can cause harmful shocks. It’s also important to watch where you plug in your appliances as to not trip over extension cords. It’s easy to get hurt if you’re not careful, but luckily there are several electrical safety practices you can do to stay out of harm’s way.
- Check your home’s wiring. Generally, the biggest culprit for home electrical fires comes from old and outdated wiring. If your home is at least 20-30 years old, chances are good that it needs a rewiring. Older wiring isn’t designed to handle most modern electrical demands, meaning it often will overload which generates a lot of heat. Since your wiring is between the walls where insulation is, overheating wires plus insulation, especially old or damaged insulation, can easily cause a house fire. If you’re not sure how old your wiring is, pay attention to your lights and appliances. If you find yourself making several trips to the circuit breaker, it could be time for a rewiring. When in doubt, it’s best to call a licensed electrician inspect your wiring for you.
- Inspect your electrical panel. Your electrical panel is another major fire hazard, especially if it too is either old or outdated. You can usually find the age of it somewhere on the door itself, or in the manual. Your electrical panel might not be a fire hazard, but it doesn’t hurt to have it inspected. An electrical panel upgrade or replacement can benefit your home, and even help you save on your utility bills.
- Monitor your outlets and plugs. If there is some sort of electrical problem in your home, a good place to look is your outlets. Watch out for any discoloration, char marks, odd burning smells, or buzzing noises. Outlets should never generate heat, but if you feel that an outlet is warm or hot to the touch, you have an electrical problem. Warm or hot outlets can be a warning for several things, such as an overloaded circuit, melted wiring, or loose wiring. Any plugs or cords that look frayed or damaged can also be a warning sign of a bigger electrical problem. It’s always a good idea to periodically search your home for any damaged plugs and outlets. The earlier you catch a problem, the better.
- Get the right fire extinguisher. It’s best to be prepared for the worst, but electrical fires work a little differently than ordinary ones. It seems like the right thing to do to douse any fire with water, but water conducts electricity. In case of an electrical fire, you’ll need a fire-retardant chemical fire extinguisher. If your home has multiple floors, make sure there is an easily accessible fire extinguisher on each floor. Make sure you know how to use the fire extinguisher and when to replace them.
- Watch your lights. Flickering lights occasionally happen, but they can also be a warning sign. Monitor your appliance usage. If you start to notice lights are flickering when you’re using a major appliance, it could mean you have an overloaded circuit or an outdated electrical panel.
- Ground your appliances. There is always a risk of electrical shock if your appliances aren’t properly grounded, especially with older appliances. Make sure your home is equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters or GFCIs. A GFCI protects you from any harmful or fatal electrical shocks by automatically disconnecting an appliance when it comes in contact with water or leaked electricity.
- Ventilate your electronics. Your appliances, especially the more complicated electronics like your computer or entertainment system, generate heat. Make sure to give your appliances enough room to properly ventilate, so they don’t overheat. It’s also important to keep any flammable items a safe distance away.
- Replace what needs replacement. Everything breaks down eventually, but when it comes to your damaged electronics, it’s important to replace them as soon as possible. Any old, outdated, or damaged electronics puts you and your home at risk.
- Do some outdoor trimming. If you live near a power line, make sure to have any nearby tree branches trimmed. This prevents power outages caused by strong storms that can break a tree branch and knock down a power line. Never check a downed power line to see if it’s active, stay a safe distance away, and wait for the professionals to take care of it.
- Start scheduling annual inspections. Your electrical system is complicated and dangerous to work with, which is why it’s important to let a licensed electrician routinely inspect your home. A licensed electrician will know where to find the problems and can repair them safely, ensuring your home functions as it should.
A Few Safety Precautions Can Prevent an Electrical Catastrophe
Your home’s electrical appliances can be dangerous to use, but with a few electrical safety practices, they don’t have to be. Proper maintenance and careful habits are what prevents electrical safety hazards from ever happening inside your home. Sometimes, however, a safe home requires some professional help. Don’t wait to start living safe, call a licensed electrician today to inspect your home.
Call Wave Electric Company, LLC today for more information on electrical safety practices!