Most homeowners pay no mind to the electrical outlets their coffee maker is connected to, or the switches that turn on the kitchen lights, but did you know that electrical hazards pose a considerable risk to homeowners? From faulty wiring to overloaded circuits, electrical accidents can lead to devastating consequences.
Before diving into how electrical hazards at home can be prevented, let’s touch on the most common hazards. First off, the leading culprit is outdated and faulty wiring. These issues can increase the risk of electrical fires, power surges, and shocks. Additionally, overloaded circuits and improper use of electrical appliances can cause problems like overheating and electrical malfunctions.
Other electrical hazards that may be present in your home include arc faults, ground faults, light bulbs with the wrong wattage, unprotected outlets, faulty appliances and cords, or broken smoke alarms.
Eight tips to prevent, and protect your home from electrical hazards
- Schedule Regular Electrical Inspections
- Use Electrical Appliances Responsibly
- Properly Maintain Electrical Wiring and Outlets
- Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
- Childproof Electrical Outlets
- Be Cautious with Extension Cords
- Educate Your Household
- Install Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers
Schedule Regular Electrical Inspections
Hire and schedule a qualified electrician to conduct periodic inspections of your home’s electrical system. They will be able to identify any potential hazards, such as outdated wiring, faulty outlets, or overloaded circuits, and recommend necessary repairs or upgrades.
Use Electrical Appliances Responsibly
Using your electrical appliances properly is essential to prevent any accidental electrical hazards. To avoid overloading the outlets, use power strips or extension cords sparingly. It’s recommended to unplug small appliances when they aren’t in use to reduce the chance of electrical malfunctions. It’s also important to immediately replace damaged cords or appliances with exposed wires, as they pose a significant safety risk.
Properly Maintain Electrical Wiring and Outlets
Regularly maintaining your electrical wiring and outlets is crucial for preventing hazards. This type of maintenance can include inspecting outlets for loose connections, scorch marks, or other signs of damage. If you spot any issues, such as damage, flickering lights or electrical shocks, contact a licensed electrician to address the problem immediately. By addressing potential hazards proactively, you can minimize the risk of electrical fires or accidents.
A GFCI, a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet, is a safety device that can prevent electrical shocks by quickly shutting off power if it detects an electrical imbalance. It keeps you safe by cutting off the electricity before it can harm you. These devices are commonly installed in areas where water is present. A GFCI outlet will help protect you from electrocution. Hair dryers, curling irons, and electric shavers are standard bathroom tools. When using these tools near a sink or another water source, a GFCI outlet will protect you from potential electrical hazards.
Childproof Electrical Outlets
Use outlet covers or tamper-resistant outlets to protect young children from electrical hazards. Keeping cords and electrical devices out of children’s reach also helps minimize the risk of accidents and electrical shocks.
Be Cautious with Extension Cords
Extension cords are convenient around your home – but should only be used as temporary solutions, not permanent alternatives to wiring. Make sure to choose extension cords that are rated for the intended use and have the capacity to handle the connected devices’ power.
Educate Your Household
Educating safe electrical use within your household is vital, especially for children. Teach your family members basic safety practices such as not touching electrical outlets with wet hands, sticking metal pieces into outlets, and reporting any signs of electrical issues or damage.
Install Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers
To ensure you are covered for fire detection in all areas of your home, it’s recommended there be a smoke alarm on each floor. Check your fire alarms regularly to make sure they are working correctly. It’s also essential to keep a fire extinguisher in your home. Make sure to store your fire extinguisher in an area that is easy to access, like the kitchen or garage. Fire extinguishers serve as the first line of defense if a small fire breaks out in your home.
AJ’s Electrical serves customers across Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, helping them with their electrical needs. Their expert team has over 60 years of combined experience. They know what it takes to ensure safety, functionality, and efficiency for your home.