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How-to Ensure Your Home is Electrically Safe

Electricity is an important aspect of every home. It provides many essential elements but also has the potential to cause serious damage. A home’s electrical systems are designed to operate almost indefinitely. This is only possible if an electrical system is installed properly, not physically damaged or overloaded. It’s estimated that more than 480 Americans lose their lives to home fires each year and more than 2,000 people are injured. There are things people can do to make certain their home’s electrical system is safe.

Circuit Breaker

Many home safety inspectors recommend that people listen to the sound their home’s circuit breaker makes. When a breaker trips right after being reset, it is a strong indication of an electrical problem. It’s possible the breaker itself is the problem. A breaker could also be tripping because a home has a serious electrical problem that needs to be corrected. Should a person continue to press the breaker, they could cause a home fire.

Outlets With A Faceplate

When these are warm to the touch, there could be a problem. It could be the result of a large electrical load being used at the outlet. This situation could also be caused by undersized wiring and even a loose electrical splice. A homeowner could cut the power and see if there is a loose splice as well as melted connections or insulation that has been burned. The wattage to the outlet may need to be evaluated. The device could be moved to another circuit that is better. If the situation doesn’t change, it’s time to call an electrician.

Electrical Panels

All electricity for use in a home enters through a control panel. It is common for such a panel to be located in the basement of a home. These control panels operate with either circuit breakers or fuses. It’s important to have the right type of fuse placed in the panel. If a fuse is broken, there is a visible metal strip inside that will be broken. When a fuse is broken, using a metallic item like a penny or a fuse that has too high of a number to replace it could cause a home fire. A fuse must be replaced with one that has the correct amperage. To find the cause may require the services of an electrician.


“A sign of an electrical problem is when a home’s lights flicker and cause the circuit breaker to trip,” said Mr. Electric. This could be the result of a lighting fixture that is old and may need to be replaced as soon as possible. This could require cutting the power and searching the supply wiring to the flickering light fixture. The wire connectors may need to be replaced. If this doesn’t work, the lighting fixture may need to be replaced.

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) Outlets

It is important for a home to have GFCI outlets installed near places that are close to water. This could include bathrooms, the kitchen, outdoor circuits as well as laundry room and more. A GFCI outlet is designed to automatically disconnect power when an appliance using it comes into contact with water or starts to leak. These outlets are made to protect people living in a home from experiencing fatal electrical shocks.

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)

This is designed to stop the flow of electricity in a home when it detects leaks from faulty wiring. It will shut down a home’s electrical power to prevent an electrical fire from occurring. These are now required to be installed in homes by the National Electrical Code. They need to be placed in family rooms, bedrooms, hallways and more.

Extension Cord Safety

An extension cord is designed only to be used for a short period of time. When a home needs a permanent wiring solution, the residents should contact an electrician. There are some things people can do to make certain they are using extension cords safely. The third prong on an extension cord plug should never be removed. Should a cord become frayed or cracked, it needs to be thrown away. An extension cord should never be placed under carpets or heavy furniture. Use the correct type of extension cord. Some extension cords have been given special ratings for use with appliances such as air conditioners and heaters. There are also extension cords designed to be used specifically outdoors.

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