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The information included in our blog posts is intended to provide home and business owners with electrical tips and tricks while acting as a hub of educational and informational resources.
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Electricity powers our lives. From the moment we wake up, throughout the rest of our day, and as we power down for the night. From brightening a room to charging our phones, to allowing you to read this blog – electricity surrounds us.
Because electricity is so commonplace, we don’t always notice its potential dangers within our homes. However, it only takes a few simple precautions to help keep your loved ones and your home safe from electrical disasters.
Every cord must plug into an appropriate electrical outlet. Use these tips at home to keep outlets safe and in working order:
- Put covers over your older electrical outlets to keep children from playing with them. Upgrade your old outlets to tamper-resistant outlets that prevent children from inserting objects (think paper clips, hair clips, etc.) into an outlet and getting electrocuted. Did you know these outlets are now a code requirement for renovations and new home builds?
- Ensure all outlets located near water (bathrooms, kitchens, garages and all outdoor outlets) are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets. GFCI’s monitor the flow of electricity to appliances. If there’s an imbalance, the GFCI will immediately cut off the power to prevent serious injury or fire.
- If you have more than two items to plug into an outlet, use a surge protecting power bar. Surge protectors help guard against electrical overloads, shock hazards, and fires.
- Block unused outlets by changing to a solid cover.
- Never put any object other than the appropriate size plug into an outlet.
- Watch for loose outlet covers. If you see sparks when you plug or unplug your appliance, have a certified electrician correct this fire hazard.
- If you run your cords under a rug, you are one of many. Although these hidden cords make a room look tidier, they can overheat or fray, becoming a fire or shock hazard. Also, don’t run your extension cords in moist or hot locations (along window sills or under apartment radiators).
- Although you can repair minor cord problems with electrical tape, we recommend you recycle or dispose of them. Extension cords can contain the same amount of voltage as an outlet. So, a cracked or frayed cord can give you quite a shock as the electricity “jumps” out of the wires.
- If you find that you use quite a few extension cords, consider having an electrician install additional outlets. Hint: if your outlets frequently become hot, this means they are overloaded.
- Consider moving some of your appliances to other areas of your home. This can cut down on the number of overloaded outlets and reduce the chances of an electrical fire.
Whether your appliances are new or seasoned, you rely on them daily. To help preserve their longevity, and reduce the risk of fire or electric shock, follow these simple steps:
- Keep cords away from children and pets so they cannot pull, play or chew them.
- Unplug your appliances before cleaning them or dealing with problems (like removing a stuck piece of toast). You can receive a nasty shock from an appliance that is turned off but still plugged in.
- Don’t carry smaller appliances by their cords, which can cause the wiring to fray (unknowingly) within the cord and lead to a fire hazard.
- Unplug appliances by grabbing the plug’s head rather than by pulling the cord.
- You can use proper electrical tape to repair minor damage to the insulated coating on an appliance power cord. However, have a qualified appliance repair shop fix more serious damage and cut cords.
- Unplug all non-essential appliances before leaving on holidays
- If your appliance is making strange noises or isn’t working properly, don’t ignore it. If you think there might be a problem, unplug it and contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician.
- Regularly check plugs and sockets for heat, burn marks, buzzing or crackling (arcing), blown fuses, or tripping circuit-breakers.
- Always register your new electrical appliances with the manufacturer so they can contact you if there’s a recall or problem.
- GFCI outlets are required in bathrooms. Don’t use electrical appliances, such as hair dryers, hair straighteners, and shavers in the bathroom if using the sink, tub or shower, and ensure the toilet seat is down. Water conducts electricity and you could receive a life-threatening electrical shock.
Keep Your Christmas Merry
Many of us love the twinkle of the Christmas lights on our trees and homes but remember to turn them off when leaving the house or going to sleep. Damaged and overheated lights can cause electrical fires.
- Quick tip: to help prevent electrical overload, shocks, and fires, plug your Christmas lights and displays into a power bar.
Light bulbs are one of the most common electrical fixtures in our homes, and the cause of many electrical fires. These pointers can help prevent such an innocuous fixture from becoming a hazard:
- Use bulbs of the correct wattage for each fixture. Using a higher wattage bulb can cause the fixture to overheat.
- Ensure bulbs are screwed in tightly as loose bulbs can cause sparks or shorts.
- Unplug fixtures completely before changing light bulbs to prevent electrical shocks.
There are two important points to remember about electrical fires:
- NEVER throw water on an electrical fire! Water is a conductor and will make the fire worse. If the fire is large or you are at risk of electric shock, remove yourself and others from the area and call 9-1-1.
- If the fire is very small and there is no immediate danger of shock or smoke inhalation, use a multi-purpose dry chemical (ABC) fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire. You should call a certified electrician who can assess what caused the electrical fire and provide a solution.
Simple checks can save your life and home
Unfortunately, it only takes one mistake to spark an electrical fire. We encourage you to print our attached Electrical Safety Tips: Staying Safe at Home checklist to quickly and easily safeguard against electrical fires.
ELECTRIC SAFETY TIPS: Staying Safe at Home Checklist
- Light switches do not flicker and are not hot to the touch.
- Outlets are not damaged, loose, buzzing, or sparking.
- There are few extension cords in use, and none are overloaded.
- Outlets are not overloaded.
- All cords are in good condition.
- I know where my fuse boxes and circuit breakers are located, and I know how to operate them properly (and have shown other adults living in my home).
- My family knows to unplug electrical appliances when they aren’t in use.
- There is a dry fire extinguisher or baking soda readily available in my home in case of an electrical fire.
- All fire detectors are working.
Call Halo Power Solutions at 780 995 0359 for a free electrical consult of your home or business. Let’s work together to keep your family, pets, and home safe from electrical catastrophes.