Home electrical problems account for 26,100 fires and $1 billion in property losses annually. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures, but many more are caused by incorrectly installed wiring and overloaded circuits and extension cords—issues that can be prevented with a little foresight, and some common sense.
Here are some basic reminders for living with electricity safely in and around your home:
- Use only appliances and equipment approved by Underwriters Laboratories or other recognized testing laboratories.
- Keep radios, hair dryers and other appliances away from water-filled tubs, sinks and pools. Teach your kids that electricity and water don’t mix.
- Install ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) at outlets in bathrooms, garages, outdoors, and near sinks.
- Unplug appliances before you clean them and when they are not in use.
- Make sure you use all three prongs of your electric plugs, and replace worn or frayed cords immediately. Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit, and never nail or tack cords to walls or floors.
- Keep electrical cords away from kids’ reach.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets. If your TV picture shrinks or flickers when major appliances are turned on, or if fuses or circuit breakers blow frequently, you should have your circuits and wiring checked.
- Never unplug or carry anything by its cord. And don’t run cords under carpets or furniture; the cords can overheat and or become frayed.
- Teach your kids not to poke things into electrical outlets, toasters, or any other appliances, whether they’re on or off. Use plug covers or inserts in all your outlets.
- Keep all ladders and other tools at least 10 feet from any power lines outside
- Teach your kids not to climb or play in trees if there are power lines nearby or lines touching or growing through the branches. Kids should also know that pad-mounted transformers (those green metal cabinets around your neighborhood).are not safe places to play.
- Replace any electrical tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke or sparks.
- Use only surge protectors or power strips that have internal overload protection and have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Keep clothes, curtains, and other items that can catch fire at least three feet from all portable electric space heaters.
- Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture.
- Avoid putting cords where they can be damaged or pinched by furniture, under rugs and carpets, or across doorways.
- Extension cords are for temporary use only. Have a qualified electrician determine if additional circuits or wall outlets are needed.
Oak Electric Service is one of southeast Michigan’s leading electrical contractors. We are standing by to answer all of your residential and commercial electrical questions. Give us a call at (800) 964-7070. We will always personally answer your phone call – you will never reach an answering service! Be sure to ask about our “Free Electrical Safety Inspection.” We invite you to visit our website at www.oakelectric.com to learn more about us.