Electrical Hazards in Your Home
Today, just about every home in the U.S. is reliant on electricity. Unfortunately, this means that there are a lot of safety hazards in your home as well. The good news is that these hazards can be reduced or eliminated when you take the time to learn about the common electrical safety risks most homes have.
Instead of trying to handle these problems yourself, it’s best to hire a professional electrician. The following five dangerous hazards may be putting your Wenatchee home at risk.
1. Poor and Defective Wiring
In order to stay safe, the wiring in your home has to conform to safety standards. When the wiring is done poorly, the chance of a fire, power surge, arc fault or other risk goes up.
Never rely on DIY electrical work; instead, hire a professional to wire your home. When necessary, replace and upgrade old and defective wires. There are a number of wiring hazards to watch out for, including:
- Improper or lose connections in switches and outlets.
- Frayed extension cords or appliance cords. These should be replaced, not just fixed.
- Wire insulation that is pierced or pinched. For example, this can occur when a piece of furniture is sitting on an extension cord.
- Wire insulation that is cracked due to age, bending, heat or corrosion.
- Wires or cords that are overheated.
- Electrical appliances that are damaged.
- Wiring that’s been chewed by pets or rodents.
- Extension cords that are in a place where people can trip over them.
- Extension cords that are used as permanent power sockets or that have too many appliances plugged into them at once. Extension cords are a big cause of electrical fires. They shouldn’t be used on a permanent basis and any unused sockets should be protected by a socket closure.
- Outlets that are overloaded by too many plugs.
When wires are damaged, cracked, worn or corroded, there are a host of accidents than can result. Hire a professional to check your wiring regularly – this will ensure that the wiring remains safe.
2. Water and Electrical Components
Make sure that any outlets that are in a room where there’s a water source – such as the bathroom or kitchen – are far away from the water. Since water conducts electricity, outlets should be far away in order to reduce the chance of a shock. Never use a dryer, radio, phone or other electrical device near a bathtub, pool or wet floor. On the same note, never handle an electrical appliance when you have wet hands. This increases the likelihood of getting a shock.
If an electrical fire occurs, you should never pour water on it to put it out. The water will fuel the fire instead of putting it out, which can lead to electrocution. Always make sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand, especially if you’re concerned about the possibility of an electrical fire.
If there’s an electrical fire and you don’t have a fire extinguisher in the house, turn off the electricity, leave the home and call the fire department. This is why it’s so important to have an escape route and regular fire drills at home. If your Wenatchee home has more than one story, each bedroom should have a fire safety ladder.
3. Babies and Young Children
Babies and toddlers are curious about everything in the home, including outlets, light switched and electronics. Even if you’re supervising your children closely, accidents can happen in a flash.
In order to protect your children even more, make sure to protect outlets with plastic enclosures, specifically the outlets that are closer to their height. These plastic protectors fit perfectly over the socket in order to prevent objects and fingers from going into the socket. When outlets are left unprotected, injuries can occur.
Most people wouldn’t assume that the lightbulbs in their house post a safety risk, but the truth is that they do. When lightbulbs are on and close to flammable materials, the risk of an electrical fire increases. Flammable objects include drapes, beds, plastic and upholstery. Lights, as with all types of electricity, also have the ability to give a person a shock.
Make sure that the light is off before changing a lightbulb. Also, make sure to never change a lightbulb – or even touch one – if your hands are wet. Additionally, be sure to always use the correct wattage for the lamp in order to prevent the bulb from overheating.