The miracle of electricity cannot be denied – in fact, we can’t imagine ourselves living without the power of electricity. It’s difficult to envision how it was in the literal dark ages, isn’t it? But thanks to certain brilliant minds, we now have electricity as standard in our homes. In fact, we have been able to utilise its functions in many ways and can now benefit from well-lit, functional, efficient homes and businesses that have truly changed the way we live.
But just like any other important technology, your electrical system should be treated with care and respect. Have you ever wondered how you can easily enhance electrical safety in your home? Here, your top questions about electrical safety are answered.
There are some things you can easily do to improve the general safety of your home’s electrical system. Below are a few:
- Stay alert
It’s important to stay alert and be aware of potential issues or problems, especially when it comes to various electrical risks or hazards. For instance, a twisted extension cord can be the cause of a short or even fire. Be conscious of flickering lights as well. Make sure that electrical wires are not bent or frayed, and if you have an appliance that gives you an electrical shock when you touch it (no matter how tiny), have this seen to as soon as possible. On the same note, if you have an electrical appliance that seems defective, have it repaired right away – don’t use it any more. Also, don’t try to donate the item; you’ll just end up passing the problem to someone else. If the appliance can no longer be repaired, dispose of it in the proper manner.
- Be aware of your central breaker or circuit box
Most modern homes will have a circuit box or central breaker panel. This box or panel serves a very important purpose: that of controlling the delivery of electricity to different rooms or locations in your home. By knowing your circuit box or breaker panel, you can easily cut the electricity to any area in your home when necessary. And to further enhance safety, make use of electro-mechanical devices such as a miniature circuit breaker. A miniature circuit breaker automatically cuts off the power when there is a fault or overload, and it can be re-used as well.
The safe use of electricity
You should also be mindful of the safe use of electricity in your household. It may come as a surprise, but it’s amazing how many of us don’t have the first clue on how to correctly use particular electrical items. The smallest safety precautions can make a big difference.
- Take, for instance, the unplugging of electrical appliances. Before you begin cleaning an electrical appliance, whether it’s a microwave, a lamp, a television, or other, take the precaution of unplugging it first. When holding an appliance, never hold it by the cable.
- It’s also wise not to overload your electrical outlets with the use of a variety of cables. Also, never try to force an electrical plug into an electrical outlet if it doesn’t seem to fit – chances are, it’s not built for that outlet at all.
- When using extension cable, be careful of risks such as tripping or slipping. Avoid running extension cables underneath rugs or carpets and across a hallway or doorway.
- When you install light bulbs, make sure they are actually the proper wattage for the fixture or lamp where they will be installed. Avoid using light bulbs which have a higher wattage than what is specified for the fixture. This can lead to overheating, which can result in a fire. Furthermore, check your light bulbs regularly and make sure they are a tight and secure fit; loose light bulbs also have a risk of overheating.
Regular checks and inspections
Every few months or so, it’s also a good idea to do some regular checks and inspections of the electrical systems and appliances in your home. Some checks are better done once a month, whilst other checks can be done every six months or so.
What to check every month
Every month, you should make it a point to check your kitchen and bathrooms as well as utility rooms for any leaks or signs of damage from water. You should also change the filters for your air system or central heating system every month. If you have any smoke detectors, test them each month to see if they are functioning properly, and if you have an alarm system operated with a remote, test this as well.
What to check every three months
Every three months, you should check your first aid kit. If you don’t have one, it’s the perfect time to acquire one. If you have any items in your first aid kit which have already been used, replace them with new ones.
What to check twice a year
There are certain electrical safety precautions you should check every six months as well. One of these is to clean the buildup of ash in your fireplace or any other appliance which burns wood. Every six months, you should also drain the buildup of sediment at the bottom or underneath your hot water heater. If the sediment builds up, it can lead to a less efficient heating system.
You should also make sure to check your laundry machine’s hoses and replace them if necessary (if they are already showing signs of wear and tear). Otherwise, just clean them and replace them once every 24 months.
Your refrigerator coils should also be cleaned every six months to get rid of dust, and you should remove the filter on your kitchen’s extractor fan to clean and wash it.
Making your home a safer place is not a difficult task, as long as you know what to do and how to do it. By improving electrical safety in your home, you can sleep better at night – and have better peace of mind – knowing that your family is protected at all times.
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