Electrical safety is an important part of running a household. With such reliance on daily electrical needs, we become overly comfortable with its use. So comfortable that sometimes safety takes a backseat. Electricity brings us convenience and efficiency—and it’s a thing to be handled with care. Let’s put electrical safety first by getting familiar with a few of the problems you might be able to spot around the house or in your daily life.
Here are seven mistakes you could be making in your home.
#1: Not knowing your electrical panel
Electrical panels are often located in remote areas of a home such as the basement, garage, or utility closet. Inside the panel are a series of switches that route power to different areas of your home. If you’ve ever noticed a breaker trip while blow drying your hair, for example, it’s a sign that too much electricity is being used on a circuit. The breaker trips to prevent an overload of power, which is a good thing.
Flipping the switch in the panel that has turned to the off position should restore power to an area of the home that has lost it. However, if this continues to happen, it may be a sign of a bigger electrical problem, and you should call an electrician as soon as possible. Panels should never feel hot to the touch.
Not long ago, as recently as the 1990s, faulty electrical panels were being installed in new homes from brands that no longer manufacture them. Electrical safety is important. So, if your
system hasn’t been inspected or updated since then, it’s not something you should put off for long.
#2: Using extension cords as permanent solutions
For temporary jobs, extension cords are a great fix. However, they should never be used as a permanent source of power. While it may seem more convenient to use an extension cord than to have additional outlets installed in your home, extended use can be dangerous.
#3: Not childproofing your outlets
Childproofing the outlets around your home helps keep curious kids from getting a shock. It might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning that seven children are treated every day for electrical shocks from outlets. By the time your baby starts to crawl (or well before), ensure your outlets are sufficiently covered.
#4: Overloading your outlets
Each outlet in your home is designed to handle a certain amount of power. Overloading an outlet with multiple high-wattage appliances can be an unnecessary risk. Rearrange high-wattage electronics and appliances to curb power consumption and stress on a single outlet. You may also want to consider having more outlets installed so you have freedom to place appliances where you want without worry of overloading them.
#5: Daisy chaining electronics
Most often a danger around the holidays when energy demands can be at their highest, daisy-chaining refers to plugging in more than one power strip, surge protector, or extension cord to increase reach or the amount of available outlets. Daisy-chaining can harm the wiring on outlets and lead to blown fuses and electrical fire. Avoid plugging in more than one of the above; it’s really not worth the risk.
#6: Not cutting the power when working on electrical projects
While it’s not advised to take the DIY route to working on your home’s electrical system, if you must, ensure you first cut the power in the circuit-breaker box before getting down to business. Electrical safety precautions are not to be ignored. Cutting the power will ensure no electricity will be routed to the area you’re working on.
#7: Not guarding valuable electronics with a surge protector
A power surge can happen at any time, though, most often after a power outage. When power is restored to your home, a surge of extra power or electricity can enter the home. This burst of power can damage electronics when plugged into a standard outlet. A surge protector absorbs the excess power instead of passing it on to your device. Guard your valuable electronics such as TVs, computers, and gaming systems with a surge protector.