Most electrical accidents and fires can be prevented with common sense and good wiring.
For most people, preventing an electrical accident means not plugging too many appliances into one single outlet or not using the hair dryer in the bathroom. While these are important safety precautions, there are many other electrical hazards in your home that you should watch out for.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical cords and plugs are the main culprit in most lethal electrical accidents. Yet these are among the most preventable too!
Inspect your plugs and cords regularly. Don’t wait until you smell something burning or see something melting before you take action. If the insulation is damaged or the cord is detaching from the plug, hire a professional electrician to replace the whole thing. Never use a cord that has been patched with electrical tape.
Extension cords, power strips and surge protectors are major fire hazards. Don’t use extension cords as a permanent outlet. Do not run them under carpeting or furniture or expose them to water. Always use the right plug for the outlet – 3-prong adapters should be plugged into 3-prong receptacles.
Using a 100-watt bulb in a 60-watt fixture can melt the lighting wires, creating a shock and fire hazard. The same danger exists when plugging a cord into an adapter outlet that screws into a light bulb socket.
Do not use any electrical device that sparks, smokes, hums, emits a burning smell, or shows any cord damage. Never operate an electric appliance while standing in water.
Install GFCI (ground-fault circuit-interrupter) outlets in all bathrooms, kitchens, garages and other areas that are prone to moisture. GFCIs can protect your home against common electrical accidents such as shock or fire from electrical current reaching water, faulty appliance and wiring, and other ground-fault hazards.
Faulty wiring is the second leading cause of electrical fires. Overloaded circuits, improperly installed circuit breakers, damaged wires, and loose connections on switches, outlets, and other devices are all potential fire hazards.
Since most electrical wiring is concealed, the best way to keep your home safe is to schedule an electrical inspection regularly. A professional electrician knows where and how to look for the most common hazards and advise you about correcting problems and getting your wiring up to code.
Working with electricity is very dangerous, so make sure that you follow the product manuals and labels when using any electrical appliance or fixture. Never modify, tamper with, or attempt to disassemble electrical equipment. Steer clear of cheap knockoffs – purchase only electrical products that are approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or ETL-SEMCO (ETL). Check out Electrician Medford Oregon for more information on electrical problems.
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