Electricity powers your electronics, provides light, and keeps you comfortable on the hottest and coldest days of the year. Unfortunately, issues with the electrical system can be dangerous and lead to house fires. Practicing good electrical safety is one way to minimize the risk and keep your family and your property safe.
Electrical Safety: Don’t Plug Appliances Into Power Strips
Major appliances need to be grounded, so the plugs have three prongs instead of two. Because they pull a lot of power, never plug them into power strips or extension cords. The washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, microwave, and dehumidifier should each have a dedicated outlet. Install new outlets if you don’t have enough to accommodate appliances and electronics.
Use Extension Cords Carefully
Extension cords lead to approximately 3,000 home fires annually. While they are safe to use when following the manufacturer’s instructions, they are not designed to be used for extended periods. Never plug multiple extension cords into each other, and don’t run extension cords past doorways or under rugs.
Use GFCI Outlets for Electrical Safety
GFCI outlets are designed to cut off the electrical circuit if a shock risk is detected. This prevents injuries and reduces the chance of an electrical fire. These outlets are commonly used in areas of the home where there are elevated levels of moisture, like the kitchen, the bathroom, and the basement. You can also install GFCI outlets in other parts of the home for additional protection.
Know How to Turn Off the Power
In an emergency, you might need to shut off the power to your home quickly. All adults in your house should be able to identify the signs of an electrical fire, know where the breaker box is, and understand how to turn off both a single breaker and the power to the entire home. Some of the signs that you’re at risk of an electrical fire include:
- Breakers tripping repeatedly
- Persistent burning smell with no apparent cause
- Outlets or switches are discolored, charred, or suddenly not working
Acting fast in an emergency is critical to prevent an electrical fire from spreading throughout your home.
Keep Water Away From Electronics
The combination of electricity and moisture can cause injury or death. Make sure your family knows to keep liquids away from electronics. In areas of the home with high moisture levels, have GFCI outlets installed or add outlet covers so moisture cannot enter the outlet.