May doesn’t only bring flowers- it’s also National Electrical Safety Month! Learning how to stay safe wherever electricity is involved is important for kids and adults alike. Electricity is very powerful, and precautions must be taken to protect your family and your home from electrical hazards. There’s no better time like the present than to conduct an electrical safety checkup at your home- here’s how:
1. Check switches and outlets
- Are your switches and outlets operating properly?
- Are there switches that stick or outlets which are warm to the touch?
- Are they discolored?
- Do they make sizzling or crackling noises when in use?
- Do your plugs fit tightly into your outlets?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, discontinue the use of those switches and outlets until a licensed electrician has checked them and installed replacements if necessary. Faulty switches and outlets are a major fire hazard, as they may indicate unsafe wiring or loose connections in your home.
2. Check your cords
- Are your cords cracked or frayed?
- Is there furniture, doors, or windows pinching the cords?
- Have the cords been penetrated by nails or staples?
These scenarios all indicate damage to your cords. When there is damage to the insulation and the wires inside, this creates a risk for shocks and fires. Any damaged cords you find should be replaced.
- Are cords running under carpets? Are they wrapped up when you use them?
These scenarios can cause cords to overheat, which creates a fire hazard. Move either your cords or your rugs so the cords are not covered and can receive proper airflow to keep them cool when in use. Unwrap your cords instead of bundling them when in use.
- Are extension cords used as a permanent solution to power devices?
If you’re using extension cords regularly to supply power to devices and appliances in your home, ask yourself why. Is it because there’s no outlet where you need it? This problem can be easily solved by having an electrician install new outlets in locations convenient for your needs.
3. Check your lamps
- Is a bulb with the appropriate wattage for the fixture being used?
If you’re using a bulb with a higher wattage than what’s recommended, the bulb can cause overheating of the fixture, wiring, or other combustible materials that may be nearby, which could cause a fire.
4. Check your electrical panel
- Are your circuit breakers constantly tripping or are fuses being blown?
Frequently blown fuses and tripped circuits are an indication that your system is being overloaded. This problem is also a sign of potentially serious electrical problems within your home. If you notice tripped breakers and blown fuses often, contact an electrician to evaluate your home’s electrical system.
- Are fuses and breakers sized right?
Using the wrong size fuse or breaker can cause overheating of the wiring, posing a fire hazard. Find out what the appropriate size is and only use this size when replacing.
- Do you have arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs)?
- Do you test your AFCIs regularly?
AFCIs provide better protection against electrical fires compared to standard circuit breakers. If you don’t have them, have an electrician install new AFCIs for your electrical panel. If you have AFCIs, make sure you’re testing them regularly- once a month is good. This test will ensure the equipment is working properly, or alert you to failures so you can have faulty AFCIs replaced.
If you find any issues during your electrical safety checkup, give us a call. Frye Electric’s team of licensed electricians can perform the repairs you need to improve the safety of your home and eliminate fire hazards.