Are you practicing electrical safety? When something goes wrong with the electrical system in your home, your first instinct may be to take a look at the problem and see if you can fix it yourself. While DIY fixes can often be cost and time effective, they can also pose serious risks to you and your household when it comes to electrical systems. It is best to always be prepared for electrical mishaps in your home so that you can take the proper steps to remedy them safely and quickly, and that includes educating yourself about home electrical safety.
Negligence and lack of knowledge can be fatal when dealing with electrical systems. In order to avoid injury or fatality relating to electrical causes, always seek guidance from a professional for more complex electrical jobs. Below are five tips that you can use to keep yourself and your family conscious of electrical safety:
- Get Familiar with Your Electrical Panel
Do you know where the electrical panel in your home is? Have you ever looked inside? Some homeowners haven’t! Doing routine checks of your electrical panel is a great way to help you get to know your home’s panel, and this knowledge can help you spot any potential issues. Faulty electrical panels pose serious fire hazards to your home, so take some time to learn what warning signs to look for. One of the biggest signs that your electrical panel is struggling to work properly is its temperature. If it feels unusually hot, chances are your electrical panel cannot keep up with your household power demands and it may be working too hard. In this situation, your electrical panel can easily become a fire hazard. Call in a trusted electrician to inspect your electrical panel and help you determine the next steps to keep your home and family safe. Remember that it is always better to be safe than sorry – if you think anything unusual is happening to your electrical panel, always call a professional electrician for a second opinion.
- Check the Temperature of Your Electrical Outlets
If your electrical outlets are warm or hot to the touch, this is a sure sign that they need immediate attention. Warm outlets often indicate that the electrical load being placed on the outlet is too high, and this means that the wiring is melting, too loose, or not up to code. Additionally, if your outlets don’t hold onto plugs well or seem loose on the wall itself, it is time to replace them ASAP. Old two-pronged outlets should be replaced with grounded three-pronged outlets, and outlets that are near water (in your kitchen or bathroom) should be replaced with GFCI outlets. If you aren’t sure whether or not your outlets are up to code, have an certified electrician take a look.
- Educate Yourself About Circuit Breakers
Most people have had a circuit breaker or two trip in their home, and if this has happened to you there might be a feeling of annoyance. But a tripped breaker is more than just annoying, it is often a sign that too many electrical devices or appliances are connected to the same circuit. Circuits cannot work safely while overloaded, so it is best to rearrange your devices, reset the breaker, and monitor the situation. If the breaker continues to trip, have a professional electrician take a look at the issue.
- Ground Old Appliances
We mentioned above how it is important to replace your two-pronged electrical outlets with three-pronged grounded outlets, but it is also important to make sure your appliances have three-pronged plugs to match. Many older appliances have two-pronged plugs that come with the risk of electrocution as they are not able to ground electrical currents properly. In these cases, when the electricity cannot reach the ground through the outlet, it finds the next best route – through you!
Keep in mind that some circuits may also need to be replaced in the process of grounding your outlets and appliances. If you aren’t sure how to make sure your outlets and appliances are properly grounded, a trusted electrician will be happy to help you get set up.
- Get a Fire Extinguisher
If you don’t have one already, make it a priority to get a fire extinguisher and make sure everyone in your household knows how to use it. In the event that an electrical fire occurs in your home due to loose connections or faulty electrical circuits, you should have a fire-retardant chemical fire extinguisher handy to help deal with the situation. Ideally, you should have one extinguisher on each floor of your home, and keep them in easy to reach locations. Don’t forget that fire extinguishers do expire and need to be replaced every 5 to 15 years, depending on the individual extinguisher.
Electrical work can be dangerous, and the best way to protect yourself and your family from electrical hazards is to contact a professional electrician for help. Certified electricians undergo rigorous training so that they can perform electrical work in your home safely and efficiently. Calling in a professional can help put your mind at ease when it comes to electrical safety.
Questions about electrical safety or your home’s electrical system? Contact our expert team today – we are always happy to provide expert advice, guidance, and services to help keep your family safe and your home’s electrical circuits up to date.