Every year thousands of families lose their belongings and their homes to fire. Many of these tragedies could be avoided through better maintenance of the electrical system. It only takes a few seconds for an electrical fire to ignite and begin to spread through your house. Most homeowners don’t realize when their property is at risk. Here are tips to improve electrical safety in your home.
Don’t Overload Circuits to Boost Electrical Safety
Many older homes were designed with electrical systems that are now outdated. Older systems were never intended to handle the electrical needs of a modern family. Appliances, space heaters, electronics, cell phones, and gaming systems require more power than some circuits can handle.
To stay safe, take care to avoid overloading circuits in your home. Some of the signs that you have too many things plugged in include:
- discoloration on switch plates
- warm appliance plugs or wall plates
- burning smell near outlets or light switches
- lights dimming or flickering
- frequently tripped circuits or regularly blown fuses
- buzzing sounds behind walls or from outlets
If you notice any of the signs above, contact an electrician to check for electrical issues and make repairs. Electricians can also assist in installing additional outlets and circuits to your home to reduce the chance of overloading the electrical system.
Be Careful When Using Extension Cords
Extension cords are not designed for permanent or long-term use because they are vulnerable to overheating if not used carefully. To promote safety, don’t plug extension cords together. Check the labels so you know what type of use the cord is designed for. Some are made for outdoor use, while others are only for inside. Because extension cords can overheat, don’t run them under rugs or furniture.
Use GFCI Outlets for Improved Electrical Safety
GFCI outlets are designed to turn off the electrical circuit whenever there is an electrical surge. These outlets keep you safe, prevent shock, and help prevent an electrical fire. These outlets are common in damp areas of the home, like the bathroom and kitchen. To maximize safety, replace garage and basement electric outlets with GFCI outlets.
Hire a Professional for Electrical Work
Electrical installation and repairs are dangerous and you should never try to make these upgrades on your own unless you’re a licensed electrician. Even relatively simple tasks, like replacing an outlet, are dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. Electricians have the knowledge and experience to perform repairs quickly and safely.
Use Outlets for Major Appliances
When you are looking to improve electrical safety in your house, plug each major appliance into its own dedicated wall outlet. Microwaves, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, space heaters, and other appliances are safer when directly plugged into the wall, not an extension cord or power strip. If you don’t have enough outlets to accommodate your needs, an electrician can install additional outlets for you.