Saftey Tips

Electric Tools Understanding what’s involved in your home’s electrical system is the first step in protecting your home from potential electrical problems. But there are other steps homeowners can take to further ensure the safety of their families and homes. For example:

  1. Never put a higher-watt bulb in your lighting fixtures than is recommended by the manufacturer. This can burn up the fixture’s wiring, leading to a fire hazard.

  2. Never cover up extension cords with furniture, floor coverings or window treatments. Extension cords are rated for use in free air. Avoid overloading extension cords. Just because there are six receptacles doesn’t mean you should plug something into every one. Extension cords are rated for a specific number of watts. Make sure the items plugged into the cord do not exceed this rating. A last note on extension cords: They are meant to be a temporary—not permanent—solution for wiring. Do not use them on a continual basis.

  3. Flickering lights, outlets that work sporadically, circuit breakers that frequently trip, loose wall outlets, bulbs that blow out frequently—all of these are indications of minor electrical problems. If these problems are not monitored and rectified, they can lead to bigger dangers. They also may be indications of more serious electrical mishaps, such as improper wiring or poor grounding.

  4. In addition to these visual signs, be alert for the smell of burning rubber or plastic, the feel of heat coming from electrical components, or the sound of sizzling or humming coming from electrical components. These, too, are indications that something is amiss with your electrical system.

  5. Know the location of the breaker panel and the main shut-off to the electrical system. Labeling in the control panel should identify each circuit breaker’s circuit. The main shut-off may be located outside at the meter. If something is amiss with the system, everything can be shut down here. Panels need to be accessible.
Now that you know the basics, you’ll be better equipped to keep your home wired and working well.