Electricity is a modern convenience that most of us could not live without. But along with the convenience, also comes some risk. How much do you know about home electrical safety? According to the National Fire Protection Association, “electrical failures or malfunctions were the second leading cause of U.S. home fires in 2012-2016.” Below is a checklist to help ensure your home’s electrical safety.
Cords and plugs
- Check all cords, plugs, surge protectors and extension cords for frayed casing, exposed wire or broken parts. Replace right away.
- Never run extension cords under carpets or over door thresholds.
- Don’t use an extension cord as a permanent fixture. If you need additional outlets, contact a licensed electrician to install some wherever you require.
- Do not overload one outlet with several high-wattage or heat-producing devices, for example a space heater or coffee maker.
- Plugs should fit snugly into outlets. So, if yours do not, contact a licensed electrician.
- Major appliances – washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, air conditioners, hot water heaters, etc. – should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Do not use surge protectors, plug strips or extension cords.
- Only use light bulbs at or below the maximum wattage listed on your lamp or light.
- Always place lamps on a flat, level surface and at least a foot from anything flammable like curtains.
- Place heat-producing appliances such as the toaster, heater and coffee maker away from flammable or combustible goods.
- Unplug kitchen countertop and bathroom appliances when not in use.
- Keep your kitchen exhaust fan clean and free of grease, lint and other blockages.
- Never use a portable heater in the bathroom. The only safe options are a ceiling unit or strip heater placed up high.
- If you use portable or space heaters, make sure they receive a seal of approval from a nationally-recognized testing laboratory.
Extra Safety Considerations
- If you have young children, consider installing tamper-resistant electrical outlets. Always use a licensed electrician.
- Ask a licensed electrician about installing arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) in your home. They are a special type of circuit breaker that shuts off the current when dangerous conditions arise.
- Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are another type of circuit breaker, and these help reduce the risk of electric shock by switching off the circuit if it becomes hazardous. Most importantly, a licensed electrician should install GFCIs in your garage, basement, kitchen, bath and all outdoor outlets.
- Test AFCIs and GFCIs at least once per month.
- If you need to dig, always dial 811 to have your underground lines marked.
Contact a licensed electrician if you have any concerns about the electrical safety of your home or are planning home improvement projects. Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010.