Practicing Electrical Safety
Electrical devices have become so safe, and outlets so advances, that electrical fires and electrocutions, which used to be fairly common, are now the lowest they have ever been, even though we use more electrical devices than ever. Even so, they are always a tragedy and a loss, since they can almost always be avoided.
But, home electrical fires still occur, to the tune of about 51,000 per year. They devour a home before the occupants have time to react. Arcing alone causes 28,000 home fires, resulting in $700 million in property damage.
The question which customers ask electricians frequently is how a homeowner can protect themselves from electrical dangers?
Watch for signs
Circuit breakers which trip frequently or repetitively blown fuses are signs that the load on the system is more than it can bear. Be aware of these as warning events. Consider an upgrade to the electrical system to prevent recurrence.
Buzzing or crackling from an outlet are indications of arcing in the wires. It means that the outlet is unsafe. It should not be used until a certified electrician should check it out and repair it. Arcing is extremely dangerous.
Electrical devices, cords, extension cords, outlets or sockets with signs of fraying or overuse should be repaired or discarded. Discard electric blankets over ten years of age, regardless of how beautiful they look.
The proximity of outlets to water
With the onset of making GFCI’s part of outlets near water sources, a whole generation of people has semi-forgotten how dangerous the combination of moisture and electricity can be. Not only should all outlets within six feet of a water source and 100% of outdoor outlets be GFCI, but no one should ever use an extension cord from a non-GFCI outlet near a water source.
Homeowners should have older homes inspected by a certified electrician and consider having AFCI outlets or breakers installed in bedrooms.
Outlets and cords
The family rule should be never to overload outlets with too many devices. An electrician can add outlets to the home in areas of high use. An extension cord should only be for temporary use, and never as a permanent solution. Never place an electrical cord or extension cord beneath a runner or rug.
The wattage of a light bulb should never exceed that which is recommended by the manufacturer. Never use incandescent light bulbs in areas where they could come into proximity with anything flammable, as they become hot enough to catch fabrics such as curtains, drapes, and bedding materials on fire.
Every floor of every home should have a smoke detector. Every sleeping room should have a smoke detector. All smoke detectors, Afci and GFCI’s should be tested each month.
If you have any questions about your electrical system, or problems with circuit breakers, wiring, switches, outlets, lighting or other electrical devices, have an electrician upgrade, replace, or repair any problems before they can become a danger to you, your home, or your family.
If you need a fast, affordable electrician for your home or business, call RSB Electrical at 480-485-4284.