Electrical malfunctions account for thousands of home fires each year, resulting in deaths, injuries and property damage. The average American home was built in 1977, which means many homes simply can’t handle the demands of today’s electrical appliances and devices. Keep safety in mind with these helpful tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
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 sounds from switches or outlets.
- Discolored outlets.
- Appliances that seem underpowered.
How to avoid overloading circuits:
- Label your circuit breakers to understand the different circuits in your home and what they power.
- Have your home inspected by a qualified electrician if the home is older than 40 years or if you’ve had a major appliance installed.
- Have a qualified electrician install new circuits for devices that draw lots of energy.
- 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 appliances when not in use to save energy and minimize the risk of shock or fire.
- Inspect electrical cords and extension cords for damage.
- 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, carpets, doors or windows.
- Make sure cords do not become tripping hazards.
- Keep paper and other potential combustibles at least 3 feet away from heat sources.
- Use lightbulbs with the proper wattage for lamps and lighting.
- Make sure your home has smoke alarms. Test them monthly, change batteries annually and replace units every 10 years.