When dealing with electricity, safety should be your top priority. As a homeowner, there are several things you must understand about your electrical system to get the most out of it. This way, you can avoid trouble and enjoy your home better.
All homeowners should be able to identify electrical problems that aren’t immediately visible to an untrained eye before they cause significant problems. While you can hire professional electricians for technical tasks like setting to a 30mA trip value, learning the following safety tips and skills can make a difference in preventing major issues or accidents in your home:
Be Mindful When Using Extension Cords
Don’t plug in air conditioners, refrigerators, space heaters, sump pumps, cooking appliances, or hair dryers into an extension cord. If you use one, you must use it temporarily and not as a permanent source of electricity.
Moreover, replace any extension cord with cracked or frayed wires to keep everyone safe. If possible, keep your extension cord under a rug or furniture and avoid stapling it to the floor. If you constantly use extension cords, it would be best to call a certified electrician to add more outlets. In addition, they can also help you set up an automatic backup power source in your home to protect against blackouts.
Avoid Overloading Your Power Outlets
It’s vital to remember that all outlets in your house can deliver a specific maximum amount of electricity only. Once you plug in some high-wattage appliances or devices into an outlet simultaneously, it may result in overloading which can cause the circuit breaker to trip.
If you want to plug in multiple electronic devices, use surge protector power strips. You should also rearrange your appliances to lessen electrical load on a single a power outlet.
Perform Regular Electrical Checkup
Regardless of your skills and knowledge, it’s always an excellent idea to check your electrical system regularly. Ensure all switches are working and that every plug fits snugly into each power outlet.
You should also check the bulb’s wattage and ensure its compatibility with the sockets they’re mounted in. The insulation on wires must also be intact, and wires must not be pinched by doors, windows, staples, or nails. Furthermore, ensure all wiring and appliances aren’t in contact with water and that they’re approved for safety and carry proof of this.
Learn About Your Circuit Breaker Panel
If a short circuit or overloading happens, a circuit breaker works by cutting off the power supply instantly. This prevents damage to lighting fixtures, electronics, appliances, and your electrical circuits.
When a circuit breaker trips, it means too much current has been demanded from that circuit. This prevents the electrical system from becoming overloaded and causing damaged wires.
While circuit breakers may seem complicated, you can learn how to use them efficiently. For example, you can shut off electricity directly from your circuit breaker if you encounter faulty wiring or outlets. In this sense, it’s just like a switch. So, learn where to find your circuit breaker box in your home and ensure it’s clearly labeled. This way, you can quickly shut a branch circuit off during an electrical emergency.
Childproof Your Power Outlets
If you have children or plan to raise some in the near future, it’s a good idea to childproof your power outlets. You can do this by investing in tamper-resistant receptacles. Remember that kids are naturally curious, and their fingers are small enough to fit into power outlets. Safety covers can also be used in existing outlets that aren’t naturally child safe.
To prevent dangerous incidents, shop for approved outlet covers and install the most suitable one for your outlets. Depending on your budget, you can also opt for spring-loaded products which automatically cover your outlet whenever not in use, thus keeping your children safe.
Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
Every electrical outlet near water sources, such as laundry areas, bathrooms, or kitchens, must be equipped with a GFCI. This acts like a small circuit breaker that works by cutting the current in case of any movement of power to ground. This prevents shocks and saves lives, especially in outdoor locations.
If you’re planning to buy an old house, check if your bathrooms, laundry areas, or kitchens are equipped with GFCIs. If not, hire a professional electrician to install some for you.
Learn When To Hire Professionals Or Do-It-Yourself (DIY)
Electrical work can be dangerous or even fatal if you make a mistake. Once you mishandle any electrical task, you and your family’s safety will be at risk. For that reason, it’s critical to learn when to call professionals and when to consider an electrical task as a DIY project.
For example, hire an electrician for major electrical work like replacing faulty wiring. On the other hand, a simple task like installing an outlet cover can be a DIY activity. By learning when to DIY or not, you’ll avoid injuries and keep your electrical system in good hands.
Understanding and learning the electrical safety tips and skills mentioned would help you spot problems immediately. It can also ensure everyone’s safety in your home when using power outlets or anything related to electricity. Unless you’re highly skilled and confident with your abilities and knowledge of electrical systems, electrical repairs must be left to the professionals.