Electricity is a wonderful and necessary resource to the modern way of life; however, it is still dangerous if handled the wrong way. Sadly, homeowners make simple mistakes with their use of electricity, leading to serious issues like electrical fires and electrocution.
To avoid becoming part of the growing statistics of electrical-related disasters, here is a closer look at electrical hazards around your home and the safety measures you should be implementing to prevent them.
1. Using or Leaving Appliances Near Water
You probably know that you should never use any electrical appliance around water – especially if it is not designed for such purposes. This is because the minerals, dirt and other impurities in water are good conductors of electricity. When electric charge hits the water, the impurities carry current, and contact with this water means you will get the shock of your life.
Simply put, you should never use appliances like radios, power tools, TVs, and hair dryers near water. Sometimes it is hard not to use an appliance in close proximity to water, so follow these basic steps:
1. NEVER touch or unplug an appliance when it gets wet
2. Instead, head over to the circuit breaker and turn the power off while the wet electronic is still connected
3. Next, unplug your appliance and wait for it to dry before using it again.
If you are unsure, whether the appliance is safely dry, contact an electrician for advice.
2. Overusing the Extension Cord
Today’s world is extremely wired, and it can be tempting to use an extension cord to add one more appliance to one outlet. However, do not do that because extension cords are designed for temporal use, and they should never run through ceilings or walls – they might overheat and cause an electric fire. Plus, if you stretch out the reach of an appliance, it leaves you and other people in the house at risk of tripping and breaking the cord, causing more shock and fire hazards.
Instead of constantly reaching out for an extension cord, your best bet would be to install a new outlet where it is most needed.
3. Poor and Outdated Wiring
One of the leading causes of electrical fires is faulty wiring. To minimize the risk in your home, get in touch with an electrician to inspect the wiring after every few years so you have a better idea of what should be replaced and repaired.
In addition, if lights are constantly dimming or flickering for no apparent reason, call in a certified Mr Sparky level 2 electrician immediately. Other signs that your wiring needs repair include breakers that repeatedly trip or outlets that feel warm to the touch or spark.
4. Pets and Kids
Your kids and pets have one thing in common with most electrical outlets – they are close to the ground. Plus, kids are forever curious and eager to stick all manner of things into outlets, which is dangerous. Use plastic-safe covers to cover outlets and protect your kids.
In addition, do not let loose cords lie unsecured on the floor. Instead, secure them using tape or cord-securing products. This will help stop pets from chewing them as well as prevent tripping.
5. Using Wrong High Bulb Wattage
While light bulbs are seemingly harmless, they are a dangerous electrical hazard if not used properly. Using a too high wattage bulb with a smaller rated fixture is called overlamping and can cause more heat than your fixture can handle. The resulting heat may melt the light socket and wire insulation.
The worst case scenario is if the overlamping causes arcing – sparks jumping from one wire to the next. This is very dangerous and puts you, your family and home at risk of an electrical fire.
Instead, use bulbs with equal to or lower rating than wattage on the fixture. If you are using an old fixture with no wattage rating, it is safe to use a 60-watt or lower light bulb.
Use the tips above to identify and rectify potential electrical hazards around your home and stay safe.