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Electrical Safety Checklist (for the Home)

This week we are making a checklist for electrical safety hazards in the home. There are several potentially dangerous electrical dangers that exist in plain sight. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2007 – 2011 the annual average of residential fires involving electrical failure was 47,820. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths and $1.5 billion in property damage. Scary statistics, especially considering many of those fires could have been prevented had simple precautions been taken.

Every household should follow our simple electrical safety checklist:

  • Always avoid running electrical cords under carpets and rugs. Never run cords in front of doorways or heavily-trafficked areas.
  • If you have damaged electrical cords, make sure that you repair or replace them right away. If a cord has minor damage, electrical tape is an option. A standard roll can be purchased at your local hardware store.
  • Households with toddlers and small children will want to consider installing tamper-resistant electrical receptacles. A shutter mechanism inside the receptacle blocks access unless a two-prong plug is inserted (keeping pins, keys and small toys locked out.)

MORE INFORMATION ON ELECTRICAL RECEPTACLES

  • If you find yourself using a multitude of extension cords, consider having a professional add more circuits or outlets.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets; especially in the kitchen. Plug only one high-voltage appliance into an outlet at a time. An overloaded circuit might cause a power surge which could result in extensive damage.
  • Major appliances (including refrigerators, air conditioners, washers, dryers, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should be avoided.
  • Protect your electrical outlets with arc-fault circuit interrupters.
  • If an outlet or light switch feels warm – or you notice a burned area anywhere on the plate, call a qualified electrician immediately.
  • Replace old, outdated appliances (one of the major causes of electrical fires).
  • Never place cloth or paper materials over a lampshade. The material can heat up and start a fire.
  • Recurring blown fuses and tripped circuits might mean there is a problem with your circuit panel. Have an electrician out to assess whether it can be repaired or needs to be replaced.
  • Always use the recommended wattage when replacing a light bulb. Lamps or fixtures can overheat when installed with a bulb in the wrong wattage.

WRONG BULB WATTAGE

  • Install ground fault circuit interrupters (GFIs) in kitchens, bathrooms and basements to help reduce the risk of shock. GFIs immediately shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard.

5 COMMON CAUSES OF ELECTRICAL FIRES

PRACTICAL SAFETY TIPS FOR KIDS

If you feel that your home might benefit from an electrical safety inspection, give us a call at (713) 364-0226. We will schedule a complete assessment of your electrical system.