Following appliance instructions, avoiding overloading of circuits, replacing or repairing damaged power cords, and unplugging devices when not in use can help ensure home electrical safety. Other methods include providing appliances with proper space for air circulation and keeping them away from moisture.
Our reliance on electrical devices and appliances has never been greater than it is today.
We use such devices in almost every sphere of our lives, including health, education, entertainment, etc. However, not following safety precautions can pose electrical health hazards, such as electrical shocks or fires, leading to loss of life and property.
I’ve put together this guide about useful basic electrical safety tips that can help you avoid such risks.
The Need For Maintaining Electrical Safety At Home
Most homes have electrical circuits that support 120 volts of current, which can be fatal if it comes into contact with your body.
Apart from such direct health hazards, electricity can lead to fires and explosions, causing property damage worth thousands of dollars. That is why it is crucial to follow certain safety precautions when using electrical equipment and appliances.
Here are some basic electrical safety tips here that can help you ensure safety and prevent electrical accidents at home.
Basic Electrical Safety Tips
- The Need For Maintaining Electrical Safety At Home
- Basic Electrical Safety Tips
- 1. Make Sure To Follow Appliance Instructions
- 2. Avoid Overloading Electrical Sockets
- 3. Replace Or Repair Faulty Or Damaged Electrical Cords
- 4. Keep Electrical Devices And Appliances Away From Water
- 5. Unplug Devices And Appliances When Not In Use
- 6. Ensure Your Appliances Have Adequate Space For Air Circulation
- 7. Store Used And Unused Power Cords Separately
- 8. Check That All Exhaust Fans Are Clean
- 9. Use The Correct Wattage For All Appliances And Fixtures
- 10. Store Appliances Like Water Heaters Properly
- 11. Hire Professionals For Electrical Repairs
- 12. Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
1. Make Sure To Follow Appliance Instructions
When using any electrical appliance, the first thing to do is go through the instructions in its manual. Doing so will not only help you avoid accidents like electrical shocks but also ensure that the appliance works properly and does not get damaged. If you experience any problems with the appliance, stop using it immediately and get it checked by an electrician.
2. Avoid Overloading Electrical Sockets
Any electrical outlet is designed to handle only a specific number of devices or appliances at one time. If it is overloaded, it can lead to electrical hazards, such as electrical shocks.
Overloaded sockets are one of the most common causes of electrical problems in households. To prevent such problems, remove excess plugs from the sockets, check that the protective faceplate on the sockets is intact, and ensure the outlet is not heating.
You should also use smart plugs to monitor the power load and avoid using appliances through extension cords.
3. Replace Or Repair Faulty Or Damaged Electrical Cords
Damaged or faulty power cords are a major electrical safety risk and should be dealt with as soon as possible. Check for signs of damage like fraying and cracking on all standard and extension cords, including electrical wiring, to replace the faulty ones. Also, avoid placing power cords underneath furniture or rugs.
Extension cords, in particular, should not be left lying around, as they are a tripping hazard and may get trapped underneath furniture, resulting in overheating or short-circuiting.
4. Keep Electrical Devices And Appliances Away From Water
Avoid placing any electrical tools and devices close to water sources, as contact with water can result in electrical shock or short-circuiting. Some household electrical items that are likely to get into contact with water include microwaves, coffee pots, blenders, etc. Plus, look at your electrical outlets to ensure they have not come into contact with water.
5. Unplug Devices And Appliances When Not In Use
Keeping your electrical devices and appliances unplugged when not in use is one of the easiest ways to ensure electrical safety. And doing so offers additional benefits besides preventing electrical accidents. There is no phantom power drain, leading to higher energy efficiency, and the chances of the devices overheating are reduced.
Also, when you unplug appliances, like heaters and humidifiers, from sockets when they are not being used, helps reduce the load on the outlets and protects the appliances from power surges. Thus, it can be quite useful in preventing your home’s electrical system from getting damaged.
6. Ensure Your Appliances Have Adequate Space For Air Circulation
Electrical devices require proper air circulation to avoid overheating, which can lead to electrical hazards like short-circuiting and fires. So, make sure to provide your appliances proper space and avoid using them in closed spaces, like cabinets.
Additionally, don’t store flammable objects near electronic and electrical appliances, like an extension cord for improved electrical safety.
7. Store Used And Unused Power Cords Separately
Another basic electrical safety tip is to separate your used and unused electrical cords and store them in an organized manner to prevent electrical issues, such as an electrical fire. This will protect them from damage and help them last longer. I would also suggest avoiding winding power cords around objects as that can cause them to stretch and overheat.
And do not place a power cord on hot surfaces since that can damage their insulation.
8. Check That All Exhaust Fans Are Clean
Many appliances have inbuilt fans that can get clogged with debris and dust with regular use. When that happens, the appliance has to work harder and use more power, resulting in higher power bills. Since it does not work properly, it can lead to the buildup of harmful gasses that may result in electrical fires.
In addition, it can cause damage to the appliance and shorten its lifespan, and you may need to spend a huge amount of money on frequent repairs. To prevent such problems, I suggest cleaning the appliance fans regularly or hiring a licensed electrician for maintenance.
9. Use The Correct Wattage For All Appliances And Fixtures
Using the proper wattage for various fixtures and appliances is important to avoid electrical problems, like a short circuit. Light fixtures do not require more than 60 watts of power, while the optimal requirement is 40 watts. Make sure to check the wattage of the fixtures before installation so that you don’t overload outlets.
For lighting fixtures, do not place more than a single bulb in a lamp unless they can be turned on and off separately. Also, avoid using energy-efficient bulbs with incandescent ones as that may lead to potential risks like fire hazards or other electrical problems.
10. Store Appliances Like Water Heaters Properly
Appliances like built-in furnaces and water heaters should be installed properly and away from combustible items. Similarly, portable heaters should be kept away from drapes and always placed on a stable surface. As I mentioned before, avoid plugging such appliances in extension cords and use direct power outlets.
11. Hire Professionals For Electrical Repairs
Electrical faults can occur at any time and due to various causes. Sometimes, you may want to fix such problems yourself, but I wouldn’t recommend that. It is always better to hire a qualified electrician to perform electrical repairs since they can ensure that proper safety precautions are in place. They also have the tools and expertise needed to fix electrical problems, check the current flowing with circuits, and replace big and small appliances.
12. Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
One of the best electrical safety tips is to get a ground fault circuit interrupter installed at your home. This can detect electrical problems like short circuits or faulty insulation and turn the power off, helping prevent problems like a fire or an electric shock. Ideally, GFCI devices should be installed in kitchens and bathrooms.
These were some of the easiest and most effective electrical safety tips that you can follow to avoid electrical problems and ensure maximum safety. But there are some others as well that can also be quite helpful, such as disconnecting appliances when cleaning them and always following electrical safety regulations.
If you have kids or pets at home, I suggest installing child-proof electrical equipment, which can go a long way in keeping them safe. Additionally, educating your kids about proper electrical safety rules will help reduce the chances of electrical hazards and ensure complete home electrical safety.