9 Home Electrical Hazard Tips

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Established in 1994, Mr. Electric® is a global franchise organization providing electrical installation and repair services. 

Electricity’s nature is chaotic and predictably unpredictable. While we can harness electron flow for power, electrical safety precautions should always be taken. Homeowners should always be mindful of potential electrical hazards and how to deal with them to stay safe. Electrical hazards create risks that lead to fires or can cause electrocution, a fatal injury. Below, you’ll find nine helpful tips for dealing with electrical hazards and taking a proactive approach to preventing dangers from potentially unsafe and unavoidable circumstances.

1. Get to Know Your Electrical Panel

Knowing the home’s electrical system improves overall electrical safety. You can prevent overloading your system by educating yourself about the amps your panel pulls, what each circuit controls, and each circuit breaker’s amperage load. Ensuring a properly grounded panel also helps prevent electrical fires by preventing faults.

2. Practice Cord Safety and Limit the Use of Extension Cords

Electrical and extension cords can pose hazards that you may not have considered. These cord safety practices promote electrical safety and can help prevent further dangers.

  • Don’t run cords under carpets
  • Keep cords out of high-traffic areas
  • Don’t pull on sharply, tug, or yank plugs from outlets
  • Replace or repair any damaged or frayed cords and plugs
  • Do not overload extension cords
  • Keep cords stored neatly when not in use
  • Don’t use extension cords with damaged insulation
  • Extension cords should not be a long-term solution

You can easily eliminate worry by preventing electrical hazards from the start. 

Related: 17 Electric Vehicles To Watch For [In The EV World]

3. Read Your Appliance Manual 

Thoroughly reading an electrical appliance manual will inform you of each appliance’s specific electricity usage, allowing you to provide a dedicated circuit with a proper amperage rating to avoid overloading a circuit. Providing enough room for air to circulate around a particular appliance ensures airflow will prevent overheating, costing time, money, and, likely, your patience.

4. Install Tamper-Resistant, GFCI, and AFCI Outlet Safety

The outlets in your home are a prevention against electrical hazards, too. Different outlets protect against various common outlet safety issues.

Tamper-Resistant – Ensure you have an internal cover requiring even pressure across both plug prongs to move aside. It’s a crucial means of childproofing as it helps prevent objects from being inserted into one side of an outlet, causing the electrical current to attempt to find ground however it can.

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) – A GFCI is required near water and is designed to monitor the flow of electricity from and returning to your panel. When the outlet detects a 4-5 milliamp discrepancy between these numbers, it shuts the outlet off to prevent injury.

AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) – An AFCI protects your home from electrical arcs, a leading cause of residential fires. When a small gap between wire connections or wires is damaged, current can arc across these gaps. Arc faults create heat in excess of 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, quickly causing a fire unless the AFCI shuts off the outlet when faults are found.

5. Update Old Wiring for Modern Electrical Loads

Man working on an electrical outlet outside

Older wiring may not be able to carry the electrical load your modern home needs and can cause overloading and overheating of the wires, cause them to fail, and lead to electrical malfunction. When you update wiring, getting thicker wires will allow a more significant draw of current without the concern of overheating.

6. Know the Signs of a Serious Problem

A serious electrical problem can’t be ignored. When you notice any of the following, an electrical hazard can be stopped from becoming an electrical emergency. Be sure to call your local service professionals if you experience any of the signs listed below.

  • Sparking at outlets or the panel
  • Warmth when you touch an outlet, light switch, or the walls near them 
  • Flickering lights
  • Circuit breakers that can’t be reset
  • Buzzing from lamps, outlets, fixtures, or the panel
  • Strange burning odor
  • Tingling when flipping a light switch

7. Regular Electrical Inspections Are a Must   

You should check the state of the electrical in your home regularly. Whether it is a professional home electrical inspection or a quick once-over, knowing your panel pays off in a big way regarding safety. You can periodically check for exposed wires or visible rust or damage on your panel, and investing in an inexpensive outlet tester will let you safely determine if outlets are functioning correctly. Every three to five years have a professional come to provide a comprehensive inspection, or you can call them sooner if you notice something amiss.                                                                                                                                                                            

8. Be Prepared for Emergencies    

Having an emergency plan goes a long way in preventing tragedy and quickly reacting in a dire situation. Have at least one fire extinguisher accessible to enable quick action if a fire occurs. Chemical extinguishers are best for electrical fire. Planning an escape route with a designated meet-up location helps you quickly evacuate, and don’t forget to practice. Packing an emergency bag or backpack with essential medications, some cash, first aid supplies, and other necessities helps after the emergency is over.

9. Don’t DIY an Electrical Problem

DIY electrical work is the leading cause of home electrical malfunctions. Professionals are trained to work with electricity, and you could potentially make the problem worse or cause yourself injury if you don’t know what you’re doing. A professional will not only do the electrical repairs needed but will check your complete system for any other hazards and correct them.                                                                                                               

Final Takeaways

Dealing with electrical hazards may seem daunting, but when you take safety precautions to prevent issues before they can occur, electrical hazards will no longer keep you up at night. Remembering cord safety, outlet safety, and reading through appliance manuals might seem like minor things, but the benefits add up. Couple these practices with periodic visual inspections, an emergency plan, and avoiding DIY electrical work come together for your benefit. 

Use these nine tips to prevent electrical hazards from becoming a bigger issue! 

You might also be interested in: 43 Easy Ways To Childproof Your Home [Protect Your Children]

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