Electricity plays many roles in our lives. So much so that when we flip a switch, we expect most systems or devices to do the job. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 51,000 electrical fires are reported each year in the United States, causing more than $1.3 billion in property damage.
May is National Electrical Safety Month and this is a great time to check for potential hazards in your home.
Every electric device has a purpose and a lifespan. Failure of electrical devices can cause hazards that might be avoided with periodic inspections.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
Outdoor outlets or those in potentially damp locations, like a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, often include GFCI features. They are designed to sense abnormal current flows, breaking the circuit to prevent potential electric shocks from devices plugged into the outlets.The average GFCI outlet is designed to last about 5-10 years. Check them by pressing the red test button and make sure you hit the reset button when done. Contact a licensed electrician to replace any failing GFCI outlets.
Loose or Damaged Outlets or Switches
If you have any loose outlets or wall switches with signs of heat damage or discoloration they should be replaced.
Power strips with surge protectors can help safeguard expensive equipment like televisions, home entertainment systems and more from power spikes. Ensure that your surge protection has multiple levels of protection and if it takes a surge, it should be replaced.
Extension cords are designed for temporary, occasional or periodic use. If an extension cord gets noticeably warm when in use, it could be undersized for the intended use. If it shows any signs of frayed, cracked or heat-damaged insulation, it should be replaced. If the grounding prong is missing, crimped or loose, the cord will not provide the protection designed into its performance. Always make sure that extension cords used in outdoor or potentially damp locations are rated for exterior use.
Electricity is a necessity for today’s lifestyle, and it’s important to keep these electrical safety tips in mind to prevent hazards and damage.
Learn more about electrical safety from your electric cooperatives South River EMC.