Since Ben Franklin flew his kite in a storm back in 1752 — and nearly electrocuted himself in the process — people have been trying to harness the power of electricity. We’ve done a great job, and our houses and businesses are fully wired. But electricity is just as dangerous as it ever was. Electrical mishaps cause an estimated 51,000 fires each year, resulting in about 1,400 injuries, 500 deaths, and $1.3 billion in property damage. Because of the dangers that harnessing electrical power poses, electrical safety is a very important lesson we all need.
How can you keep your home safe from electrical fires, shocks, or accidents?
A brief guide to residential electricity
Most homes have two hot wires and one neutral wire. These wires bring electricity — provided by your local power company — through the lines and into your home.
Small appliances rely on power from one hot wire and one neutral wire. Each of these wires is 120 volts, and together, they form a 240-volt circuit. Larger appliances such as a refrigerator or washers need all three wires.
The power company monitors your usage through an electric meter, which is usually located near the place where power enters the house.
That’s why it’s important to be aware of some basic electrical safety tips.
6 Tips for Electrical Safety at Home
Place power bars on a surge protector.
Most people know to plug their electronics into a power bar. But did you know that you should also be using a surge protector? A surge protector will help protect your electronics from power surges.
Power surges can happen for a variety of reasons, such as lightning strikes or power outages. If you live in an area where there are frequent power outages, then a surge protector is a must-have. Even if you don’t live in an area with frequent power outages, it’s still a good idea to use a surge protector.
Don’t overload extension cords and outlets.
One cause of house fires is overloading extension cords. This happens when you plug too many devices into one cord, which can cause it to overheat and start a fire. When you overload an outlet, you’re essentially creating a fire hazard. Overloaded outlets are one of the leading causes of electrical fires, so it’s important to be aware of the potential hazards.
To avoid this, only plug in as many devices as the cord or outlet can handle safely. You can usually find this information on the cord itself. Also, make sure to unplug devices when you’re not using them, as they can still draw power and overheat even when turned off.
Know how to properly ground outlets.
Fuses protect your home’s wiring from overheating and causing a fire. But they have to be replaced after each power surge, which can be a hassle.
Circuit breakers trip when there’s an overload and then reset themselves when the power is back to normal. So, you don’t have to do anything except maybe flip a switch back on.
Use circuit breakers instead of fuses.
Fuses work by melting and breaking the circuit when too much current flows through it. This can be caused by a short circuit or an overload. While fuses are designed to protect your home, they can be dangerous because they require you to replace them after they’ve been used.
Circuit breakers, on the other hand, trip and reset automatically. This means that you don’t have to worry about replacing them, and they’re less likely to cause a fire. Almost all newer homes are built with circuit breakers, but older ones tend to have fuse boxes. If you purchase an older home, consider replacing the fuse box with a simpler circuit breaker.
Don’t use electrical appliances in bathrooms or outdoors
Many people don’t realize that using electrical appliances in bathrooms or outdoors can be extremely dangerous. Water and electricity don’t mix, so if you’re using an electrical appliance near water, you could be putting yourself at risk for electrocution. It is important to keep cords away from water because water can also cause electrical fires.
Even if you’re not near water, using electrical appliances in damp or wet conditions can be dangerous. If you must use an appliance outdoors, make sure it is properly grounded and that you are not standing in water or on wet ground.
Check cords for damage and wear out regularly
It is important to check cords for damage and wear out regularly. This is because damaged cords can cause electrical fires. Also, if you have small children or pets, they could chew on the cord and get electrocuted. If you see any damage, replace the cord immediately.
In addition to checking cords, you should also avoid running cords under carpets or furniture because this can damage the cord and create a fire hazard.
By following these simple electrical safety tips, you can help keep your home safe from electrical fires and other avoidable disasters.
Are you in need of an electrical service? Ace is here to help.
Ace Plumbing, Electric, Heating & Air company is a family-owned and run electrical company in and around Upstate, SC. Our experienced professionals are always available to help you with any repair or installation needs. We’re here to help you keep your home’s electrical system running safely and smoothly, so don’t hesitate to give us a call today!