Safety in your Home
Here are several tips to help you and your family stay safe around electricity in your home.
DANGER! Outlet Overload
Tip 1: Little ones should always ask an adult for help when plugging or removing cords from an outlet.
Tip 2: Bulb wattage matters! Light bulbs with wattages that are too high for the light fixture can overheat the fixture, causing a fire hazard. (ESFI)
Tip 3: Do you have little ones in the home? Make sure your loved ones are protected by installing tamper-resistant receptacles. (Occupational Safety and Health Admin)
Tip 4: Surge protectors for cable and phone jacks provide protection for your computer modem, TV and phone. (ESFI)
Tip 5: Entertainment centers and computer equipment are pricey items for the home! Make sure to leave plenty of space around these items for proper ventilation. (OSHA)
Tip 6: Working outdoors? Play it safe and use a wooden or fiberglass ladder. Remember to keep a minimum of 10 feet between the ladder and power lines. (National Fire Protection Association)
Tip 8: Smoke detectors in your home should be tested every month to ensure they are properly working. (ESFI)
Tip 9: Never place extension cords in high traffic areas, under carpets or across walkways, where they pose a potential tripping hazard. (OSHA)
Tip 10: Using a window A/C unit? Before installation, make sure the electrical circuit and the outlet are able to handle the load. Large units should have their own separate electrical circuit so the system is not overloaded.
Tip 11: When you’re cooking up a storm in the kitchen, remember to set a timer to remind yourself to check on food that is simmering or in the oven. Always double check to make sure burners and appliances are turned off when you’re done. (ESFI)
Tip 12: How well do you know your home’s electrical system? Make a map showing which fuse or circuit breaker controls each switch, light or outlet. (ESFI)
Tip 13: Smoke detectors should be installed in every bedroom, outside of each sleeping area and on every level of your home. (ESFI)
Tip 14: If you’re working outdoors in a damp location, inspect all electrical cords and equipment being used. Make sure they are in good condition and free of defects – and remember to use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). (OSHA)
Tip 15: Recurring tripped circuit breakers or multiple blown fuses? This can signify a serious and dangerous electrical problem! Contact a licensed electrician immediately.
Tip 16: Lamps are great accents for our homes – make sure to place them on level surfaces, away from items that are flammable. (NFPA)
Tip 17: Flickering or dimming lights? This could mean bigger problems ahead. Contact a qualified electrician to check your home’s wiring.
Tip 18: Frayed or damaged extension cords are dangerous and should never be used. Damage to the cord can expose wires and cause fire and shock hazards.
Tip 19: Do you have a wobbling ceiling fan? This can wear out the fan’s motor over time. Turn off the fan and tighten the screws to correct the problem.
Tip 20: Power strips are great – but relying on them too much can be a problem! You may need to install more outlets in your home. Call a qualified electrician for help. (ESFI)
Tip 21: Any time you see an overhead power line – you should assume the line is energized, even if the wire is down or appears to be insulated.
Tip 22: For outdoor equipment, use lighting and power tools that have the label of an independent test laboratory, and make sure they’re made for outdoor use. (NFPA)
Tip 24: Never throw water on an electrical fire! This may seem obvious, but in the heat of the moment, grabbing a bucket of water to extinguish the fire can be tempting. Use your chemical fire extinguisher instead. (Popular Mechanics)
Tip 25: Install light bulbs with extended life spans in hard-to-reach locations to limit the number of times you have to climb a ladder, move furniture or otherwise engage in potentially dangerous activities. (ESFI)
Tip 26: Remember: Power strips and surge suppressors do not provide more power to a location, only more access to the same limited capacity of the circuit into which it is connected. (ESFI)
Tip 27: All switches and lighting equipment should bear the mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL, Intertek, or CSA. (ESFI)
Tip 28: When cooking in the kitchen, remember to keep appliance cords away from hot surfaces like the oven, stove or toaster. (ESFI)
Tip 29: DIY project for the home? Always turn off the power to the circuit that you plan to work on by switching off the circuit breaker in the main service panel.
Tip 30: Use covers on outdoor power outlets, especially near swimming pools. Keep cords and electrical devices away from the water, and never handle electrical items before you’ve dried off. (ESFI)
Tip 31: When using a portable generator, make sure the extension cords used are rated for the load, are free of cuts or frays and have three-pronged plugs. (ESFI)