Santee Cooper: 7 Electrical Safety Tips For Your Home
Monday, August 31st, 2020
Using electricity is second nature. We run our air conditioning constantly, use refrigerators, microwaves and indoor lighting, and charge computers, phones and other devices daily. Now, more than ever, it’s easier to mismanage our energy use and appliances at home, which could either overwork our system or even create an electrical accident.
Learning how to properly use your home’s electrical system and your electronic devices can make a huge difference in how efficiently your electricity is working for your home. It can also help prevent electrical accidents and keep you and your family safe.
Stay safe at home with these seven tips:
- Avoid overloading outlets
Make sure your outlet isn’t being overloaded with too many devices and appliances using adapters and extension cords. Additionally, only one heat-producing device should be plugged into an outlet at a time (coffee maker, hair dryer, etc.), and refrigerators, ovens, laundry machines and other major appliances should be plugged straight into the wall and not an adapter or extension cord.
- Unplug appliances when not in use
Not only will unplugging appliances prevent you from using unnecessary energy , it could also help protect your appliances from surges and other electrical mishaps.
- Use the proper wattage for lamps and lighting fixtures
The recommended wattage is what keeps your lamps shining safely. There should be a sticker indicating the maximum wattage of the bulb needed. Lamps should also be used with a shade or globe to prevent other items heating up if they’re too close to the bulb – particularly if you’re using incandescent bulbs. LEDs are a great way to light up a room without all the wasted heat energy.
- Never run cords under carpets, rugs, doors or windows
Running cords throughout your house can cause tripping hazards as well as inviting electrical accidents when they’re consistently out in the open. And a cord under a rug or carpet is a fire hazard. If you find you’re using extension cords regularly, consult your electrician about adding new outlets around your home within reach of the things you need to plug in.
- Get rid of damaged extension cords
Making sure you’re using the correct extension cord for the environment and circumstance will help prolong the lifespan of your cords, but they’re meant to be replaced as needed. Instead of trying to fix damaged cords, updating or upgrading your extension cords when they’re not working properly will help prevent sparks, surges and electrical fires. Your extension cords should also have surge protectors.
- Keep electrical appliances and tools away from water
You’re probably well aware that water and electricity don’t mix, but it’s sometimes easy to overlook hazards in everyday situations. Make sure you’re keeping kitchen appliances a safe distance from sinks and other appliances that use water. Also, be sure that all outlets near a water source are ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCI, receptacles. These can quickly shut off power at the outlet when a short circuit is detected.
- Call a professional
If your lights are flickering, your circuits are tripped frequently, you see sparks or smell burning or rubbery odors, it’s time to call a trained electrician. These warnings signal a larger electrical problem that needs to be addressed at the source quickly rather than waiting it out or leaning on a temporary solution.
Many of us are working or spending more time at home in general. Following these basic electrical safety tips can help you avoid serious electrical issues or injuries. They’ll also help you save energy and money on your utility bill, too.