Checking Now Can Lead To A Safer Home

Electrical Safety

Checking Now Can Lead To A Safer Home

Most of us know that electricity and water don’t mix, therefore, things like relaxing in a bathtub with a space heater sitting on the ledge is something we are smart enough to never do. But there are some things that may not seem so common sense when it comes to electrical safety at home, such as what to do if an outlet or light switch feels warm to the touch, or if it’s okay to be using a light bulb that is a higher wattage than suggested for a light fixture. Either of these things can actually be a potential fire hazard even though they may seem like nothing to be overly concerned about.

The number one thing you can do to keep your home safe when it comes to electrical issues is to conduct an inspection of your home’s electrical components. Once a year, perhaps while doing your regular home inspection, follow through this checklist below:

Annual Electrical Safety Checklist

• Electrical Cords: Check every electrical cord in a room for any damage and looseness. If it’s damaged, replace or repair the cord. For loose plugins, it may be the outlet. Once plugged back in, if it still won’t hold tightly you may need to repair the outlet or hire an electrician to do so.

• Extension Cords: If you’re using an extension cord, make sure that it is not running along an area where it may cause a trip hazard, such as a doorway. Also, it should not be placed under a carpet as it may become a fire hazard should something go wrong with it. If you have multiple extension cords being used, consider adding more outlets and / or circuits instead of using extension cords. Outlets and Switches: As you do your home inspection, touch the outlets and switches to see if they feel warm. Warm outlets are a sign of an issues, such as an overly large electrical load or loose wiring. Dimmer switches are an exception since they naturally may feel warm, but if they feel hot, they too should be investigated.

• Kitchen and Bathroom: Make sure that there is no standing water near any outlets or cords and check any ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. You need to test your GFCI Outlets periodically to ensure they are working.

• Lamps and Light Fixtures: Check each light fixture and verify that it has the proper wattage light bulb installed. Do not go over a manufacturer’s recommendation on wattage as this can cause an electrical safety hazard. Lamps should also be on a level surface and kept away from anything that they may burn.

• Space Heaters: Many electrical home fires are caused by portable or stationary space heaters. The biggest issue is the dust and dirt that accumulates inside them. They need to be cleaned and checked regularly—make sure they are unplugged before doing any cleanup. The next highest reason they are so dangerous is because they are too close to things that will burn, such as furniture, bedding, and clothing.

If you encounter anything that needs your attention as you do your walk-through, remember to unplug and / or shut off the power to it via the circuit breaker before looking into it any further.

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