Electrical safety at home
Families have experienced a lot of togetherness the past couple of years. Adults working from home and kids learning remotely – and people of all ages watching TV and playing video games – means a large number of electronic devices need to be plugged in or charged.
All of this “may present new electrical safety concerns in your home that have not existed before,” Electrical Safety Foundation International President Brett Brenner says.
According to the ESFI, more than 35,000 residential fires occur every year – resulting in more than 500 deaths, 1,100 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. The organization offers simple steps to prevent your home from becoming an electrical hazard.
- Don’t overload outlets.
- Unplug appliances that aren’t in use.
- Regularly inspect electrical and extension cords for damage.
- Use extension cords only on a temporary basis – they’re not a permanent solution.
- Make sure cords don’t become tripping hazards. Don’t run them under rugs, carpets, doors or windows.
- Keep papers and other combustible items at least 3 feet away from space heaters and heat sources.
- Plug space heaters or fans directly into a wall outlet – not an extension cord or power strip.
- Make sure the bulbs in your lamps and light fixtures are the correct wattage.
Here are some signs that your home’s electrical system may be overloaded:
- Frequent blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers
- Lights that dim when other devices are turned on
- Buzzing sounds coming from outlets or switches
- Discoloration on outlets
- Appliances that seem underpowered
If you’ve noticed any of these, it’s time to get in touch with a qualified electrician. Calling in the professionals when it’s needed, along with making small changes and staying observant, will help keep everyone in the family safely plugged in at home.