3 Ways To Practice Electrical Safety This Month (And Every Month)
May is National Electrical Safety Month, and there’s no better time for homeowners to improve the safety of their electrical systems. This can be done by updating and upgrading electrical equipment and following proper electrical safety practices.
In the United States, electrical hazards – from fires to electric shocks – claim hundreds of lives, cause thousands of injuries, and do around $1.3 billion worth of property damage yearly. To avoid becoming a statistic, every homeowner should do everything they can to ensure their electrical systems are safe and up to code. So this article will lay out a few simple tips for improving electrical safety!
Get the Home Up To Code With Electrical Safety Devices
The first electrical safety tip ensures the home’s electrical safety devices are in good shape and up to the latest codes. For instance, most modern homes have a main electrical panel full of circuit breakers, which turn off the flow of electricity to a circuit when the current exceeds the circuit’s amperage rating (i.e., a circuit overload). The circuit breakers and the electrical panel can get worn out over time, so it’s a good idea to keep them up to date.
Fuses are a little like circuit breakers in that they protect against overloads, but where breakers can simply be turned back on after they trip, fuses can only be used once. This is because they essentially self-destruct to cut off current flow (by design). Circuit breakers have largely replaced fuses in most homes due to their inefficiency and the increased risk of fire that they pose – so homeowners with fuse boxes should consider an upgrade!
GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets and breakers are another safety device homed should have. This help prevents (or, at the very least, minimize) electric shock by shutting off the current flow when they detect even a tiny variation in the normal current. These are required near water fixtures and in outdoor settings.
Avoid Overloading Circuits
The next tip for a safer electrical system is to watch for overloaded circuits. This occurs when devices and appliances use more amperage than a circuit is designed to handle. A circuit overload can damage every device on the circuit and cause the components of the circuit itself – such as the circuit breaker, wiring, outlets, and light switches – to overheat. Overloaded circuits are among the most common causes of electrical fires in homes.
Signs of an overloaded circuit include flickering/dimming lights, smoke or crackling noises coming from outlets, outlets or plugs that are warm to the touch, and breakers repeatedly tripping. Fortunately, homeowners can avoid overloads by limiting the number of devices plugged into one circuit, making sure the amperage draw of the devices on a given circuit doesn’t exceed the circuit’s rating (usually 15-20 amps for most general-use circuits), and not crowding or daisy-chaining power strips.
Use Surge Protectors
Last but not least, homeowners can help make their home electrical systems safer by utilizing surge protectors. These devices protect electronics and appliances by shunting power surges and diverting the excess voltage to the home’s grounding pathway, where it can be safely discharged into the earth. Power surges are simply voltage spikes caused by everything from AC or fridge compressors kicking on to lightning strikes and downed power lines – but whether small or large, they can seriously damage the home’s electronics.
To keep electronics safe from power surges, homeowners would do well to use small portable surge protectors (those resembling power strips) for things like computers and entertainment systems, as well as a whole home surge protector (installed at the electrical service panel) to protect larger appliances and add more of a buffer against bigger surges (such as lightning strikes).
Suppose homeowners are unsure whether their systems are up to code or want input mapping out the home’s circuits and selecting surge protectors. In that case, they can contact their trusted local electrician to perform an electrical inspection and offer expert guidance on choosing the right electrical upgrades for their home!
About Doctor Home Experts
Since opening its doors in 2005, Doctor Home Experts has become one of Pasadena, TX’s most trusted and highly-rated home service companies. Their above-and-beyond commitment to every customer’s safety, comfort, convenience, and satisfaction has earned them numerous 5-star reviews, awards, and top ratings from sites like Expertise.com and HomeAdvisor. They offer same-day service, 24/7 emergency service with no after-hours fees, a money-saving membership plan, and an unbeatable 10-year warranty on all services. So there’s no better choice for reliable electrical service in Pasadena, TX!
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