Home Electrical Safety

May 27, 2021 | Personal Insurance

Try imagining a life without electricity. A world where you cannot turn on the television to watch your favorite shows, where you cannot use your washing machine to wash and dry your clothes, and where you cannot open your computer for work. Electricity has truly become part of our daily lives. It is one of the most important technological developments which enables us to live a convenient and comfortable life.

Since electricity has become central to our lives, particularly in our homes. It is important that we know about the issues regarding home electrical safety. According to the report by the United States Product Safety Commission, 31,000 home electrical fires happen every year and 200 deaths are due to home electrical systems. 

Home electricity safety involves sources of electricity in our homes like the: outlets, plugs, extension cords, and the whole electrical system in our house.

Moreover, the National Fire Protection Association states that 69 percent of electrical fires are brought about by faulty or damaged wiring and other related electrical equipment. While other sources of electric fires come from electric devices like lamps, light fixtures, cords, plugs, transformers, and other power supplies. 

As you can see, our home electric system and electric home appliances can be a fire hazard that can endanger our homes, especially the lives of our loved ones. As such, we must do our part in protecting our homes against electric fires to ensure the safety of our family. 

Here are some electrical safety tips that you can do in your homes to minimize the risks of electric fires and electrocution in your homes. Take note of these following tips and do them regularly, so that you can protect yourself and your family against electric-related hazards and accidents. 

Maintenance Tips 

One of the leading causes of electric fires is damaged power wires and defective electric appliances. These can be easily prevented by regular inspection and maintenance. As such, the first important thing to know about electric safety is how to properly maintain our electric wires and household appliances in order to minimize any risks of electric fire or electrocution. 

Here are some maintenance tips that can help you ensure electrical safety in your home: 

  • Regularly inspect the power cords and wirings around your home. Take note of any signs of wear and tear such as frayed wires or cracks. If needed, make sure to repair or replace them. In this way, you can avoid a serious risk of electrical shock or overheating which can result in electric fire. 
  • Do not place your power cords under rugs or furniture in your house. Since placing cords under a rug can lead to overheating. On the other hand, furniture can crush the electric cords and damage wires underneath it. 
  • Organize the electric cords around your house. See to it they are not tangled with each other. 
  • Place your electric wiring, outlets, and electric appliances away from water. Electricity and water are a deadly combination. As such, make sure that your electric appliances and wires are dry and far away from any water source to minimize the risks of electrocution. 
  • Remember to pull the plug and not the electric cord from the outlet. Avoid pulling the electric cord when you are unplugging your electric device since this can cause damage to the plug, outlet, or in the electric appliance itself. 
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Outlet Safety Tips

Outlets can be found everywhere in our house. In the United States, homes usually have two-pronged outlets. However, newer homes now have three-pronged outlets. Whatever the kind of outlet you have in your own house, it is important to follow these safety reminders to minimize any risks of accidents and problems in the future. 

  • Inspect your house and look for any overloaded outlets. Overloaded electrical outlets can lead to overheating which can ultimately pose a serious risk of starting an electrical fire. 
  • Before unplugging your electric appliances, make sure that you turn them off first. This is so that they avoid a “hot unplug” which can lead to an arc inside creating a dangerous fire hazard. 
  • Take note of the manufacturer’s instructions before plugging an electric appliance into a receptacle outlet. 
  • Remember that only one high-wattage appliance can be plugged into the outlet. This avoids the overloading of your outlet. 
  • If you are going to use a heat-producing appliance like a: bread toaster, coffee maker, or microwave, remember that you should plug only one of them in an outlet. 
  • Get tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles for your outlets located in places where children are usually present. Since 2008, Tamper-resistant receptacles have been required by the National Electrical Code. According to the National Fire Protection Association, TR receptacles are a built-in safety mechanism against electric shocks. TR receptacles function in a way that when a plug is inserted inside it, both springs are compressed and the shutters open in order to allow the metal prongs to get into contact with the electrical circuit. In this way, electric shock can be prevented specifically among children since the shutters will not open when a child attempts to insert an object into only one contact opening. 
  • Put ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in specific areas of your house like the:  kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, basement, garages, outdoor areas near the pool area, and other places where electrical equipment is close to the water or where it can get wet. GFCI is a residual-current device that quickly shuts off electric power so that you don’t get a severe electric shock. Installing GFCI in the electrical system of the house or the power cord can minimize shock hazards. 
  • Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) can also be installed to minimize the possibility of an electric fire in your home. AFCI is a device that can detect arcing electrical faults. Upon detection of an arc fault, it de-energizes the circuit so as to prevent electric fire. In installing AFCI into your home, it is important to seek the help of a professional electrician. 
  • Consider using a smart plug for your electronic appliances. A smart plug is a small adapter that you can plug into a normal electrical wall outlet. It can monitor the outlet power loads and it can automatically turn off the electronic appliance connected to it if it detects overheating. Since it is a smart device it can be connected to the Wi-Fi network, as such any electronic appliance connected to the smart plug adaptor can be turned on or off remotely using your smartphone. 

Electronic Appliances Safety Tips 

It is not an exaggeration to say that we have multiple electronic appliances in every room in our house. These electronic appliances perform various functions for us which make our daily life more convenient and less stressful. Our television provides a much-needed source of entertainment at the end of a tiring day, our washing machine cleans and dries our clothes, while the microwave heats up our food for us to eat. All of these electric appliances are powered by electricity which means that we also have to be careful in maintaining their good condition and in using them every day. 

Here are some tips that you can do in order to ensure that you are using your electronic appliances safely while maintaining their condition:

  • Do not place any object that can easily burn over heat-producing electronic appliances or over a lamp in your house, as this can be a possible source of a fire. 
  • Inspect your lamps and lighting fixtures to ensure that you are using the right kind of bulb. Using LED bulbs is recommended as it consumes less energy which can save you a lot of money on your electric bill. In addition to this, LED bulbs also reduce the risk of overheating. 
  • Unplug your electric appliance if you are not using it. In this way, you can avoid a ‘phantom drain’ which happens when an electric device consumes electricity even if it is not in use. By doing so, you can reduce your electric consumption and prevent overheating or power surges in your electric appliances. 
  • Before using any new electronic appliances, make sure that you read the instructions in its manual beforehand. In this way, you can know how to properly use and maintain your electronic device. 
  • Take note that if you encounter any problems with the device, for example, a slight electric shock or a spark in the device — stop using it immediately and call a qualified electrician who can help you sort out the issue. 
  • Ensure that your electronic appliances are getting the proper air circulation in order to minimize the risks of overheating. As such, you should not place electronic appliances inside confined areas like an enclosed cabinet. 
  • Safely store flammable objects away from your electronic appliances. 
  • Place electronic appliances far away from water sources. Do not put your electronic devices in an area where they can get wet. Water and electricity are a deadly mix since combining them can cause electrocution. 
  • If you are going to use your electronic appliances in the outdoor areas of your home, make sure that their cords and outlets are always dry. 

Extension Cord Safety Tips

Remember that an extension cord is just a temporary solution. It is not meant to be used for an extended period of time, as it can pose several electric hazards. For example, power fluctuations are likely to happen if you use an extension cord and this can cause damage to your electronic device. Moreover, extension cords are more vulnerable to water which makes them more likely to cause electrocution. Also, if an incompatible extension cord is connected to a high-power electronic appliance then there would be a higher possibility of overheating which increases the risk of a fire. 

That is why it is highly recommended to add more outlets or circuits around your house in order to avoid using extension cords. Ask the help of a qualified electrician to add more outlets in your house to ensure electrical safety in your home and to minimize the risk of electrocution and overheating. 

If you are currently using an extension cord as a temporary solution in your house, here are some tips that you should take note of: 

  • Inspect your electrical and extension cords and check if it is loose or damaged. Immediately, repair or replace them if you see any signs of wear and tear in order to minimize the risk of overheating or electrical shock which can cause a fire. 
  • If you are not using the extension cord, then you should unplug it. 
  • As much as possible do not plug major appliances like washing machines, microwave ovens, and refrigerators into an extension cord. 
  • Do not overload the extension cord. 
  • Make sure that the extension cord does not run through walls, carpet, doorways, ceilings, or floors as it can cause tripping and heightens the likelihood of overheating. 
  • You should not use the extension cord if it feels warm or if you see any signs of wear and tear. 

Childproof your House 

In the United States, over 2,400 children below 10 years old are treated in emergency rooms due to electrical shock or burns as a result of children tampering with a wall outlet around the home every year. Since children are naturally curious, they are more prone to accidents. That is why, if you have children in your house, then it is necessary for you to take additional safety measures against electric hazards. Electric wirings, electronic appliances, and unused wall outlets can easily pose danger, especially to curious children. Therefore, childproofing your house is crucial in ensuring electrical safety in the home. 

  • Install tamper-resistant safety caps on all unused wall outlets. You can also strategically place your furniture in front of the outlets, to block access of the children to the outlet. This is crucial in order to prevent electrocution among children. 
  • Organize loose cords and ensure that they are out of reach to minimize the risk of tripping accidents. 
  • Make sure that your extension cord is hidden. 
  • Ensure that your electronic appliances, especially heat-producing devices like hairdryers, toasters, and clothes iron are kept away from children. Store them in places that cannot be easily accessed by children. It is best to put electronic appliances on high shelves or in cabinets to ensure that they are out of reach for small children. 
  • Educate your child about the danger of electricity. Warn them early on about the dangers of electronic appliances and electrical cords. 
  • Teach your children to not yank or pull the electrical cord from the outlet. 

When to Call for Help? 

Dealing with electrical problems is a tricky and delicate job. As such, it often requires the professional expertise of a qualified electrician. Here are some tell-tale signs that you already need to call a professional electrician: 

  • If you notice any sparking in the electronic outlets or appliances. 
  • If the outlets, electric cords, and switches feel hot. 
  • If you smell something burning or rubbery from your electronic appliances. 
  • If the lights suddenly dim or flicker. 
  • If you find any signs of rust or corrosion around your breaker box.
  • If you feel an electric shock when you lightly touch any electric switch, outlet or household appliances, or any electrical surface in your house. 
  • If your electrical circuit breakers trip or your fuses blow regularly. 
  • If you mostly rely on extension cords in your house then you should call a qualified electrician in order to add more outlets. Since extension cords are supposed to be for temporary use only and it should not be utilized for a long period of time. Since extension cords heighten the risk of overheating which can result in an electrical fire. 
  • If you are living in an old house that is more than 25 years old. You may consider calling a qualified electrician who can inspect the electrical system in your house in order to minimize the risks of electric hazards. In this way, you can be assured that your home is safe and up to standard. 

Remember, that you should not force yourself to fix everything on your own, especially if you do not have the right expertise. Do not hesitate to ask for professional help, as they are equipped with the right knowledge and skills in fixing electrical issues around your house. 

Protect Your Home with Insurance
Even with these safety precautions, accidents can still happen especially when you least expect it. That is why getting a reliable Home Insurance is a good way of minimizing the risks brought by electric hazards in your home. Since it can cover losses in your property and safeguard you from unexpected damage and liabilities. 

If you want to know more about Home Insurance, you can contact Advantage Insurance Solutions. Advantage Insurance Solutions has a dedicated team of insurance professionals who can assist you in selecting the best home insurance plan that will suit the specific needs of your family. Explore budget-friendly insurance options with Advantage Insurance Solutions today! 

In Conclusion

Electricity has become a part of our daily lives that it is difficult to imagine living a life without it. While electricity brings so much convenience to us, we also have to be vigilant about the risks that come along with it. In ensuring electrical safety in our homes, first of all, we must perform proper maintenance of our electric wirings and household appliances to minimize the risks of electric fire or electrocution.  Nowadays, we can use devices such as the: GFCI, AFCI, tamper-resistant receptacles, and smart plugs to maximize safety in our homes. In addition, getting a good home insurance policy is also crucial in case accidents brought about by electric hazards happen. At the end of the day, if you see any potential problem in your electrical system and appliance it is safe to call the help of a qualified electrician who can repair and solve your electrical problems.