Electrical Safety Tips for Around the House
About two weeks ago, when we were on the way to Max's Restaurant to have dinner and celebrate Kristel's birthday, we saw a building on fire. There were many firetrucks around the area and people were flocking on the street causing a traffic build-up.
That fire incident was on the news the following day. The building was a furniture and gadget
warehouse, and millions of pesos were lost because of the fire.
We need to be careful with the electrical appliances and wirings in our homes. Many fires are caused by faulty wiring and overheating appliances. Recently, I've been hearing many cases of fire on the news. It's just timely to share this article on electrical safety at home.
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You might not be a professional electrician. But that doesn't mean that you're not dealing with electricity just the same on a daily basis. In addition to lighting the interiors and exteriors of our homes, electricity powers everything from appliances to computers. And given the advent of the digital revolution, our dependence on electricity is only growing.
While many homeowners may complain about the amount of their electrical bills, this shouldn't be their only concern. Studies indicate that electricity is the fourth leading cause of house fires in the United States. More than 400 deaths and 1,400 fire related injuries are reported annually, often as a result of electricity misuse. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that up to 50 percent of these fires could have been prevented if only homeowners took proper precautions.
Check the safety tips below so you don't fall victim to accidents and fire caused by electrical problems.
1. Your Tripped Breaker Means That Something Isn't RightToo many homeowners assume that the only action needed when a breaker in a panel trips is to reset it. While occasionally this could be all that is warranted, it's important to remember that circuit breaker trips occur as a warning that there's a problem with an electrical system. A thorough home inspection should be conducted every time a tripped breaker is found.
2. Know How to Put Out a Small Electrical FireNever pour water on an electrical fire. Water conducts electricity, which means that it will help fires spread. Instead, use a chemical spraying extinguisher. Remember to keep the extinguisher fully charged at all times, and store it in an easy to reach location. And once the fire begins to grow, all occupants should leave the building and contact help from a safe distance.
3. Beware of Warm Outlet CoversWarm is generally fine. However, an outlet cover that's painfully hot to the touch is an outlet that you shouldn't be using. Unplug all items from the outlet and contact an electrician for evaluation and servicing.
4. Fix Suddenly Magical Lighting
Do lights flicker momentarily when turned on? Do they mysteriously turn themselves on and off when not on a timer? Do these "light shows" cause circuit breakers to trip? Bad wiring, wiring connectors, or the lighting fixture itself could be the culprit. All three should be inspected and replaced as needed.
5. Replace Bandaged Electrical CordsDo you have an electrical cord with exposed wiring? Don't just slap a little electrical tape on it and call it good to go. Electrical cords with visible wiring or bent prongs and extension cords with loose ends are cords that need to be replaced.
Homeowners can further safety proof homes by capping all unused electrical outlets and removing cords from the path of foot traffic. Children should never be allowed to play with or near a live electrical current or operate circuit breakers without adult supervision. And all household members should be taught how to recognize and respond to electrical emergencies. With the proper care, households can get the most out of electricity both in efficiency and safety.
Ryan Bridges is a contributing writer and media specialist for the Mr. Electric. He regularly creates content for different electric and home improvement blogs, based around the transitional challenges which comes with managing safety and improvements around the home.