Electrical safety is a top priority for homeowners. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, electrical fires account for 9% of all residential fires in the United States each year, with an average of 24,000 reported cases in 2019 alone. To help keep your home safe from electrical hazards, here are some tips and best practices for electrical safety in the home.
Electrical Safety in the Home: Install GFCI Outlets
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are outlets that prevent electrocution by monitoring electricity flow and shutting off power if a change in current is detected. Install this type of outlet in areas where water and electricity might mix, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, and any area with an outlet near a sink or other water source.
Check Extension Cords
Extension cords can become frayed or worn over time due to age or wear and tear. Check your extension cords periodically for signs of damage like cracked insulation or exposed wires; if you notice any of these issues, replace the cord immediately. If you use extension cords often, replace them every few years to ensure they remain in good working condition.
Electrical Safety in the Home: Safe Use of Surge Protectors
Surge protectors are essential tools for improving electrical safety in the home. They prevent spikes in voltage from damaging connected electronic components, such as televisions and computers. Without a surge protector, these devices risk experiencing permanent damage or catching fire if an electrical surge occurs.
Use a surge protector approved by an independent testing laboratory, like UL, and verify it matches your device’s voltage requirements. The surge protector should be appropriately grounded and not overloaded with too many items plugged into it.
Know When to Hire a Professional
When dealing with problems or concerns related to your home’s electrical system, it’s always best to hire a professional electrician familiar with local building codes and regulations. Fixing an electrical problem yourself may result in injury or even death due to electrocution.
Taking care of your home’s electrical system isn’t difficult. Follow these tips to improve electrical safety and reduce the occurrence of hazardous situations. When your electrical system requires repairs, hire a professional electrician with training and experience. With these precautions, you can rest easy knowing that your home is safe from issues due to faulty wiring or other electrical problems.