Electrical hazards are a common cause of injuries around the home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that electrical hazards are the second-leading cause of household fires and home injuries in the United States. Injuries from faulty residential wiring and appliances cause more than 350 fire-related deaths each year.
Electrical hazards at home occur in more than one way, so safety precautions should be taken to ensure everyone in a home is protected from such risks. While only licensed electricians should make electrical repairs, there are simpler things homeowners can do without having to hire an electrician.
Replacing Fraying or Damaged Cords
Replacing fraying or damaged cords is a smart way to reduce electrical hazards at home, especially if the cable has exposed wires. Electrical current travels along the wires within electrical cords, and when one breaks from a plug or other receptacle, it creates an electrical shock hazard. Faulty connections increase fire risks, especially when frayed wires come in contact with flammable items. The proper use of extension cords can minimize these risks, especially when using an outlet with a built-in circuit breaker or by plugging only one appliance into an extension cord rather than many devices at once.
Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
Installing a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is an easy, cost-effective way to ensure electrical safety in the home. GFCIs offer protection against electrical shock by detecting electrical imbalances and shutting off electrical power within milliseconds, thus preventing injury or death. They should be installed in kitchens, garages, outdoor locations, and bathrooms to provide maximum coverage.
Inspecting Electrical Appliances Before Use
Using electrical appliances safely is extremely important to prevent fire and electric shock. Homeowners should check for damaged parts and wires, broken plugs, or damaged insulation. They should also ensure that cords are not frayed or cracked and do not run through liquid-filled or dusty areas. Finally, they should remember to unplug or shut off electrical devices when not in use.
Avoiding Overloading Sockets
Overloading sockets is one of the most common causes of electrical issues. Most people are oblivious to this fact because they think that when they plug in their appliances, the current capacity of a socket is enough to ensure safety. This is not true, as many incidents have shown that fixtures and appliances being used simultaneously often overload the socket and cause an electric shock or other issues. People should take preventive measures to prevent such accidents by understanding how each appliance consumes power.
Safeguard Against Electrical Power Surges
Investing in surge protection for your PC, appliances, and electrical outlets is one of the best ways to safeguard against electrical surges. According to the National Electric Code, surge protection can aid in reducing significant damage from strong surges that occur suddenly due to lightning or other power disturbances. Keeping an eye out for frayed or cracked wires, as well as ungrounded plugs, can also be beneficial in preventing hazards.
With the right combination of preventative measures, knowledge of electrical dangers, and thorough appliance maintenance, homeowners can ensure their homes are safe from electrical hazards. They should take their time to inspect outlets, check for exposed wiring, and ensure that all extension cords are properly grounded. Finally, contacting an electrician with any concerns or when noticing damaged outlets or wires is essential. Practicing these safety tips in homes will reduce the risk of fire and electric shock, allowing its occupants to feel secure and comfortable.
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