Everyday Electrician: 5 Simple Tips for Electrical Safety at Home

Sometimes, it doesn’t take a professional electrician to ensure everything at home is wired safely. Here are five simple electrical safety tips to remember.

1. The older the home, the more needed the inspection.

Generally, national codes require that houses 40 years or older undergo periodic safety inspections. These procedures help identify potential fire hazards, defects in previous electrical work, and other risks posed by outdated components. Some areas mandate that an owner-occupied home undergo an inspection every 10 years, and a rented home every five.

2. Tripping breakers are a trouble indicator, not an inconvenience.

A warm electric panel and tripped breakers are red flags on safety. Undue heat coming from the panel may indicate anything from overheating to faulty wiring. Tripped breakers signify overloaded circuits, as well as outdated or damaged components. A professional electrician should step in whenever either of these incidents occur.

3. Heated outlets mean overheating – or worse.

Warm or hot outlets are a sign of overuse, overloaded circuits, short circuited wiring, or another defect. Any of these cases could escalate to a fire hazard, as well as pose risk of electrical shock.

4. Lights are an easy monitor of electrical safety.

While flickering lights may only mean that the bulb needs reinstallation or replacement, they can also be signs of bigger problems. A professional electrician would be the best judge of whether or not flickering lights are a simple problem or a symptom of one.

5. Keep a fire extinguisher at the ready.

All the previous items on this list are meant to ensure that the fire extinguisher will never be needed. Nonetheless, one should always have a fire extinguisher in the house, as well as know how to use it. More importantly, one should know where to grab it quickly. Fire extinguishers are best placed in accessible or higher-risk areas, like the kitchen.

Sources:

7 Electrical Safety Tips Homeowners Should Know. Angie’s List, July 21, 2016.

What are the Signs of Electrical Home Problems? Angie’s List, June 2, 2015.

Periodic Inspection Explained. Electrical Safety First, n.d.

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