What is National Electrical Safety Month?
Each year there is a whole month dedicated to the awareness of electrical hazards and safety in and around your home and business. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), is an organization that specifically promotes and educates of the many ways that electrical related fires can be reduced and prevented. They focus bringing awareness to things such as childproofing your home, whole home surge protection, educating on national electric code, electrical shock drowning, electrical home hazards and so much more.
Electrical safety is a topic that many home and business owners often overlook since the problems may not be as visual or evident as a plumbing leak or broken AC system. However, the importance of electrical awareness can mean the prevention of major damage to yourself or property. Here are a number of great electrical tips to take note of. Make an point and take the extra steps necessary to make sure your surroundings are safe and hazard free:
Test and Change your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors
These safety items can mean the difference between life and death in the event of fire and it just takes moments to test them regularly. Never skip this step as it is your first alert to a smoke or fire in your home. Smart smoke detectors such as the Nest Protect are great alternatives that test themselves daily.
Change out your smoke detectors at least every 7-10 years
There is an expiration on your smoke detectors. If you just moved into a new home, try to find out the age of the smoke detectors and always err on the side of caution. The minimal cost it takes to change out all the detectors in your home is well worth the potential damage that can be had if they are not working.
Electrical Cord Safety
Don’t overload your outlets with electrical cords and remember they are TEMPORARY solutions. If you need power to a certain area of the home and are currently using an extension cord, consider contacting an electrician to pull electricity to that area and create a new outlet.
Unless you are a licensed electrician, Don’t Do It Yourself. It may seem simple to search for “How To” tips on your electrical needs, but unless you are familiar with electrical codes, it is best to leave this work to the professionals. Running new wires, installing new lights, adding circuits to your breaker box, etc… are not just simple to do’s as there are a number of checks and balances an electrician performs to make sure that there are no potential hazards. Never perform any upgrades or changes that are beyond your skill level.
Do you know what circuits lead to which parts of your home and appliances?
Make sure that everything is properly labeled in your breaker box. Make sure that none of the circuits are hot or buzzing. If you have a Zinsco or Federal Pacific electrical panel, call your electrician immediately. These panels have been recalled for potential fire hazards.
Keep your home electronics and systems safe with Surge Protection
Storms/Lightning, power surges, or variances in your home’s electrical load, can all cause a surge that can fry your electronics. Think about everything that you have plugged into your electrical system and envision it being unusable. That is a huge replacement expense that can be easily prevented with the installation of whole home surge protection. 60-80% of the time, home surges occur form internal sources.
Make sure you have GFCI outlets installed in all bathrooms, kitchens, outdoors and in garages to prevent accidental electrocution
Using a night light, you can test your GFCI outlets. Turn the nightlight on as it is plugged in to the outlet, press the test button on the outlet, the light should turn off. Push in the “on/reset” button and the light should turn back on. If there are any issues during this simple test or if you need GFCI outlets installed, it is highly recommended that you contact a licensed electrician.
Do NOT overload your electrical outlets
It is not best practice to have an outlet that has numbers of extension cords and expanded outlets plugged in to it. Keep in mind that extension cords are temporary solutions to electrical needs and should never be used as permanent options to provide power. It’s quite simple to have your electrician install an additional outlet which is much safer in comparison to using temporary extension cords. Limit any potential fire risk by using the designated outlets only and not adding number of additional cords.
These are just a few great tips to start off National Electrical Safety Month. We’ll keep you posted with other electrical tips and tricks to make sure your home is hazard free. Contact Casteel today to schedule your Whole Home Electrical Safety Inspection for only $99.