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10 Electrical Safety Tips at Home

With more and more electrical appliances and devices entering the home every year, it’s essential to follow a diligent electrical safety checklist. You probably have a few systems or rules in place for your family to protect them, but there are many considerations you may not be thinking about.

This guide serves as a way for you to check all the boxes and keep your family and home safe. Take a look at some of the most common and simple tips for electrical safety and learn how you can implement them in your home.

1. Replace or Repair Damaged Power Cords

Ensuring the integrity of power cords is crucial for home electrical safety. When power cords become damaged, exposed wiring poses serious hazards, including the risk of electric shocks and fire. Any signs of fraying, cuts, or exposed wires demand immediate attention.

Promptly replacing damaged cords with new ones or using electrical tape to cover exposed areas can lower these risks. By taking proactive measures to address damaged power cords, you can safeguard your home against potential electrical accidents and maintain a secure living environment for you and your family.

2. Prevent Electrical Overloads

overloaded power strips

Electrical overloads happen when the use of electricity exceeds the capacity of an outlet or circuit. This overload can lead to overheating, sparks, and even fires. To prevent electrical overloads, it’s essential to distribute electrical loads evenly throughout the home.

Avoid plugging multiple high-wattage devices into the same outlet or circuit simultaneously. Instead, utilize power strips with built-in surge protection to safely accommodate multiple devices. Additionally, adhering to the electrical capacity of outlets and circuits can help prevent overloads, ensuring electrical safety at home.

3. Extension Cord Safety

Extension cords offer flexibility when you need to power devices across the room, especially if you work from home. However, improper use can pose significant safety risks. 

Running extension cords across walkways or above carpets can lead to tripping hazards and potential damage to cords and outlets. Extension cords need to be properly placed or taped down so people don’t accidentally trip over them.

To ensure basic electrical safety with extension cords, only use cords rated for the intended purpose and avoid overloading them with too many devices. To lower the use of extension cords, consider installing new outlets strategically around your home.

4. Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Maryland law requires that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors be installed in all homes. Regularly testing and maintaining these devices is critical to their effectiveness and your family’s safety.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in every bedroom or outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. You need to test smoke alarms monthly, replace batteries every year, and replace the device every ten years. 

If you don’t test these devices regularly, you risk fatal accidents involving fires and carbon monoxide.

5. Electrical Safety for Kids

Electrical outlet with electricity safety cover to prevent child electrocution. Baby proofing household power sockets with plastic plug inserts.

Children are naturally curious and may accidentally be harmed by appliances in the home. Taking proactive steps to childproof electrical outlets and cords is essential for their safety. Installing tamper-resistant outlet covers can prevent children from inserting objects into outlets, reducing the risk of electric shocks.

Additionally, keeping loose cords out of reach and teaching children about electrical safety further lowers the risk of potential hazards. Parents should always supervise children near possibly dangerous appliances, devices, and outlets. By implementing these safety measures, parents can create a safer environment for their children to play without the risk of electrical accidents.

6. Use GFCI Outlets

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are designed to protect against electric shocks. These outlets track the flow of electricity and can quickly shut off power to a circuit if they detect a ground fault or leakage current. You probably recognize these types of outlets by the “Test” and “Reset” buttons.

GFCIs are typically installed in rooms where water and electricity may come into contact, like kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and outdoor outlets. Ensuring that GFCI outlets are installed in these locations can significantly reduce the risk of electrical accidents, particularly in wet or damp environments.

7. Properly Maintain Electrical Appliances

Regular maintenance of electrical appliances is essential for both safety and performance. Over time, appliances will wear down, which can increase the risk of electrical hazards. Following manufacturer guidelines for maintenance helps identify any potential problems before they get out of hand. This may include:

  • Cleaning the device
  • Lubricating moving parts
  • Checking for loose connections
  • Pointing out damaged wiring

If you notice any issues with your larger electrical equipment, you should reach out to a professional electrician who can promptly repair the devices. They can also provide you with appliance-specific electrical safety suggestions.

8. Regularly Inspect Electrical Outlets & Switches

Electrical outlets and switches should be inspected regularly for signs of wear or damage. Loose or cracked outlets, charred switches, or sparking when plugging in devices are all signs of problems that require immediate attention.

Regular inspections should include checking for loose connections, ensuring proper grounding, and testing the functionality of outlets and switches. A certified electrician should repair any issues to prevent electrical accidents or fires.

9. Keep Flammable Materials Away from Electrical Sources

Flammable materials, like curtains, paper, or furniture, pose a significant risk when placed near electrical sources. Heat from electrical appliances or faulty wiring can ignite and cause fires. It’s crucial to keep flammable materials away from outlets, light fixtures, and appliances.

Additionally, storing flammable liquids or materials in appropriate containers and away from electrical sources minimizes the risk of accidental fires. If you have any type of gas in your home, it should be kept in a tightly sealed container and stored in a room away from appliances.

10. Have Your Home’s Electrical System Inspected

electrical panel circuit breaker

Many electrical problems may not be noticeable to the average homeowner. You should schedule an electrical inspection if you haven’t had a professional electrician at your home in a few years. These services will help you identify any risks that you may not have even considered.
GAC Services follows a holistic electrical inspection checklist to properly protect your home. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for an electrical inspection in Gaithersburg, Frederick County, Montgomery County, and Howard County, Maryland.

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