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Stay Safe at Home

Electrical safety in today’s modern homes

Each year, electrical malfunctions account for thousands of home fires and injuries, hundreds of deaths, and more than $1 billion in property damage. The average American home was built in 1977, and many existing homes simply can’t handle the demands of today’s electrical appliances and devices. Keep safety in mind with these helpful tips from your electric cooperative. Learn the warning signs of an overloaded electrical system.

  • Frequent tripping of circuit breakers or blowing of fuses.
  • Dimming of lights when other devices are turned on.
  • Buzzing or humming sounds from switches or outlets.
  • Discolored outlets.
  • Appliances that seem underpowered.


Know how to avoid overloading circuits.

Label your circuit breakers to understand the different circuits in your home. Analyze the load for each to be sure it does not exceed the circuit’s capacity. If it does, redistribute the load or have an electrician upgrade the circuits. These devices should have their own dedicated circuit:

  • Electric range
  • Electric dryer
  • Space heater
  • Air conditioner
  • Furnace
  • Dishwasher
  • Hot tub
  • Garbage disposal
  • Large toaster
  • Washer


Have your home inspected by a qualified electrician if it was built more than 40 years ago or if you’ve added a major appliance or other electrical load.

Have a qualified electrician install new circuits for high energy use devices.

Reduce your electrical load by using energy-efficient appliances and lighting. Working from home? Follow these safety tips to keep you and your home safe from electrical hazards.

  • Avoid overloading outlets.
  • Unplug equipment when not in use to save energy and minimize the risk of shock or fire.
  • Regularly inspect electrical cords and extension cords for damage. Discontinue use immediately if a cord is damaged.
  • Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis.
  • Never plug a space heater or fan into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Never run cords under rugs or carpets, across doorways, or through windows.
  • Make sure cords do not become tripping hazards.
  • Keep papers and other potential combustibles at least 3 feet away from heat sources.
  • Keep liquids well away from any electrical devices.
    Make sure you use the proper wattage for lamps and lighting.
  • Ensure your home has smoke alarms. Test them monthly, change batteries annually and replace each unit at least every 10 years.