1. Electrical Safety: Unplug Appliances When Not in Use
Unplug appliances and devices when they’re not being used. It’s one of the most basic electrical safety guidelines and one that is often forgotten. Unplugging unused appliances not only saves energy by lowering phantom drain (the amount of electricity the gadget consumes even when it is not in use), but it also prevents damage to appliances from power surges or overheating.
2. Don’t Overload Outlets
House fires can start from plugging too many devices into an outlet and overloading the circuit. Outlets are rated to handle a set amount of electrical current. Relying on multiple electrical gadgets to draw power from a single outlet is dangerous. In many homes, power strips and extension cords are overused. These items are not designed for continual use and should only be used temporarily as needed.
Overloading an electrical outlet can cause a breaker to trip and may also damage your device or appliance. Components of overheating outlets can melt or the outlets can spark and start a fire, in the worst-case scenario.
3. For Electrical Safety, Replace or Repair Damaged Cords
Damaged power cords pose a safety hazard in the home. They can cause electrocution and fire. When using an appliance, check the cord for fraying or other damage. Replace cords that are not 100% intact. Keep electrical cords away from pets.
To be safe indoors, don’t staple power cords to baseboards or flooring. Running an electrical cord beneath a rug may lead to damage from foot traffic or cause overheating.
4. Use Caution Around Water
Water conducts electricity. You can get electrocuted when operating appliances with wet hands or using electronic devices too close to water. Having an outlet near the kitchen sink increases the risk of being shocked, so be cautious. Unplug appliances and devices that are used near water. Never use electronics in the bathtub. Dry your hands before plugging an appliance into the wall and make sure the plug and cords are dry, too.
5. Appliances Need Room for Airflow
For proper air circulation and cooling, appliances that generate heat – such as refrigerators, computer monitors, and televisions – should have several inches of clearance all around. Clothing, toys, towels, etc. should not be placed on top of appliances. Without sufficient airflow, electrical equipment can overheat, which poses a fire risk.
Don’t use appliances like microwaves and coffee makers inside closed cabinets. These spaces don’t offer room for good air circulation and the appliance may overheat.
Even though electricity is readily accessible, there is still a risk when using it. To keep your family safe, take precautions when using electricity. If an electrical short or spark occurs, unplug the device immediately and call a professional to assess the situation.