9 Tips for Practicing Electrical Maintenance Safety at Home

We have been using electricity for quite a while to power up our lights and appliances. While it’s been a life changer for us, it’s also been the cause of many injuries and death. We can lessen those unfortunate accidents by learning safe practices when dealing with electricity. Here are 9 tips for practicing electrical maintenance safety to get you started:

1. Check Your Outlets

Outlets can wear out especially if they’re used a lot. After a while, the prong slots will loosen, and your plug won’t fit snugly into it anymore. A loose plug can be a fire hazard as well as pose a shock risk. Be sure to replace those outlets as soon as possible to keep your home a safe place to be.

2. GFCI Outlets

Install a GFCI outlet in areas that are near water, like the kitchen and bathroom sinks. They will shut the power off to the outlet if they detect and overcurrent to prevent you from getting shocked. Test your GFCI outlets at least once a month to make sure they’re in good working order.

3. Use Voltage Testers

Flipping a breaker switch or removing a fuse is only the first step in preparing to work with wires. Use a voltage tester to make sure no wire is live in the area you’re working on. Cutting into a wire is not the time to find out that a live wire still remains. A tester will alert you before any work is performed and you can shut the power off to the main panel if needed.

4. Don’t Run too Many Appliances on a Circuit

There’s a reason that fuses and breakers come in specified amperages. Each circuit is slotted to run a certain amount of current for your appliances. When the current exceeds the amperage of that circuit, it will trip the breaker or blow the fuse to prevent the overheating of the home’s wires. If a circuit can run 20 amps, you will need to make sure appliances on that circuit won’t exceed that amperage. Calculate the amps you have running on one line to see how many amps you have on that circuit. Too many amps are more than likely the reason a fuse keeps blowing or a breaker trips. Plug an appliance somewhere else to avoid exceeding your circuit’s amperage again.

5. Use Extension Cords Sparingly

Most people use extension cords as extra outlets, but they’re really designed only to be used temporarily. Continued use tends to wear the cord out and increases the risk of fire. If you need more outlets, it’s far safer to have more installed in your home, than to continue using cords that weren’t meant for prolonged use. If you must use one of these cords, make sure it’s in great shape with no damage, and use it only for as long as you actually need it.

6. Periodically Check Your Appliance Cords

Your appliances may be working fine without any problems, but it’s still a good rule of thumb to check the cords periodically. Look for any warning signs that something may go wrong in the future, like damage to the covering, burn spots on the plug, or melted areas on the cord. These should be addressed right away before a serious fire happens. Melted areas could indicate that the cord is touching something hot for long periods of time, and burn spots could warn of arcing, or overloaded circuits.

7. Trim Trees or Bushes Near Electrical Lines

A lot of homes have their electrical service coming into the residence via overhead poles. Tree branches could fall and damage the wire unless they’re trimmed away. For lines that are underground, refrain from planting bushes or trees too close where they’re buried.

8. Protect Your Electronics from Surges

Investing in a good surge protector can help keep your electronics from getting damaged by a sudden surge of electricity. Surges running through one of these devices will get redirected to ground instead of traveling through your devices plug. In the event of a severe storm with lightning strikes, these surge devices will do little to protect your electronics, so the best protection, in that case, is to unplug it until the storm subsides.

9. Keep Your Wiring Up to Date

If you live in an older home that hasn’t had the wiring updated, it’s time to consider getting it done. Older wiring is considered to be unsafe and a huge fire risk, especially if you have outlets with no ground coming in. While it could be expensive to bring a professional in for this type of project, there may be ways that you could save some money. Do your research.

Working with electricity doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Making sure you’re implementing safe practices will decrease your chances of an injury significantly. Heed any warning signs you may encounter and get them checked out right away before they turn into an expensive repair. Get a professional to evaluate your wiring and see if there are any hidden dangers that could cause you serious trouble down the line.

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