A well-laid-out electrical system is a fundamental requirement in all homes around the globe. And while reducing electricity bills remains a major concern among homeowners, many are unaware of potential electrical hazards that a poorly installed and maintained system can cause.
These dangers can range from electric shocks to even a full-fledged electrical fire. To combat this, here are 4 tips on handling potential electrical hazards at home so you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
1. Repair Faulty Power Cords
Since we use so many appliances and gadgets in a modern home, it is easy to lose track of integral parts such as power cords. Power cords are wires that connect your appliances to the main power line via a socket. Oftentimes, with prolonged use, these cords tend to become frayed or damaged.
This makes them a major electric hazard, making users susceptible to shocks. Therefore, the best way to prevent this potential danger is by identifying and repairing faulty power cords in your household.
Check the power cords of light fixtures and appliances such as dryers, ovens, dishwashers and refrigerators to nip the problem in the bud. In case the damage to the cord is extensive, it is best to get it replaced entirely, as a poor repair job can create more problems in the long run.
Moreover, you must also pay attention to extension cords, as they can be a hotspot for electrical shocks. They can easily get tangled in furniture or get stepped upon, which can potentially damage the wires. This in turn can make you susceptible to shocks. So be sure to also examine your extension cords along with power chords to stay clear of electrical hazards.
2. Unplug Appliances When Not In Use
Over the years, many safety features have been added to household appliances that make them far safer for prolonged use than their older counterparts. Hence, you might think there is no harm in leaving an appliance plugged in after use. While it might not damage the appliance much, it can cause problems in the power socket itself, one of them being overheating.
Leaving appliances plugged in for a prolonged period of time can cause overheating, consequently leading to an electrical fire and damaging the electrical system of the entire property. Therefore, make sure that you unplug all appliances after use, with the exception of refrigerators.
Alternatively, if you find it challenging to follow this every time and want to somewhat automate the system, then temperature switches are the best option. Also known as a thermal switch, this is a small electrical accessory used to open or close an electrical circuit on the basis of operating temperature.
Thus, this device monitors the input temperature closely. When the temperature exceeds a certain amount, it automatically shuts down the appliance. In this manner, you can effectively avoid overheating devices or electrical sockets without having to constantly unplug them. Nevertheless, it is preferable to unplug them entirely to avoid hazards.
3. Use The Proper Wattage For Light Fixtures
This is a pretty common problem faced in most households. The average person is not very aware of concepts like wattage and can end up using a light fixture that is ill-suited for their home. For instance, using a higher wattage bulb than the recommended amount, which is around 40 to 60 watts.
This can cause problems in the electrical system, leading to damaged bulbs or even a fire. Similarly, avoid using multiple bulbs on a lamp with a single switch, as it can also lead to disastrous outcomes.
Moreover, learning about the right wattages isn’t enough. Pairing different types of lights can also create a potentially hazardous situation. For example, combining an incandescent bulb with a more energy efficient one. Since they have very different wattage levels, it can cause the lights to flicker or become permanently damaged.
Ideally, it is best to avoid old-fashioned light fixtures altogether and opt for more modern, energy-saving variants such as LED lights. Apart from reducing power consumption and the chances of creating an electrical hazard, they are also easy on the eyes, making them perfect in every aspect. Therefore, arm yourself with basic knowledge about light fixtures including wattage and common varieties.
4. Avoid Overloading Outlets
Plugging multiple devices or appliances into the same socket is a common practice in many households. And while it might seem like a convenient way to get things done, it can have a hazardous outcome in the long run. Although a socket has multiple outlets, people tend to go overboard with their appliances.
For instance, using two appliances which require high electrical output from a single socket will cause a lot of strain on it. This can lead to overheating, and eventually, can cause sparks and fires or damage the electrical system entirely.
Another major drawback is that it can cause damage to the appliances itself. For example, plugging an oven and refrigerator can cause one or both devices to stop working due to the high electrical demand. Therefore, avoid overloading outlets at all costs. Only plug-in appliances in a single socket that aren’t highly demanding.
This logic also extends to extension cords. Even though it is designed to handle multiple devices, it is best to not use all outlets simultaneously.
Ultimately, to avoid such mishaps from happening, it is best to go for a circuit breaker which will stop electrical overload and prevent fires and damage to the appliances.
To summarize, incorporating electrical safety measures is essential to prevent any major hazards such as severe shocks, sparks, fires or damage to the appliances.
By following these 4 tips, you will be able to minimize or eliminate these potential risks altogether. Other than mitigating risk, you will also improve the performance of your electrical system by reducing repairs and replacements.