It’s National Electrical Safety Month—Protect Your Family and Your Home
With so many different things commemorated in a given month, it’s challenging to keep track of all the important subjects covered by such commemorations. To the best of our knowledge, more than 50 different subjects are commemorated in the month of May, so we have to ask, were you aware of any of the following?:
- National Home Improvement Month
- Mental Health Awareness Month
- National Military Appreciation Month
- National Stroke Awareness Month
- National Asparagus Month
- National Inventor’s Month
- National Lyme Disease Awareness Month
- Haitian Heritage Month
- National Apraxia Awareness Month
- Older Americans Month
If you answered yes, give yourself a gold star, or perhaps prepare yourself a gourmet burger to celebrate National Hamburger Month. If you can name any of the other 40 or so commemorations, celebrate or honor the cause accordingly.
Given our decades-long service as expert Tallahassee-area residential and commercial electricians, the technicians at Meeks Electrical Services want you to know that it is also National Electrical Safety Month. Sponsored by the Electrical Safety Foundation International, the annual May commemoration is designed to promote safety education and awareness to reduce electrical-related accidents. According to the Foundation, these accidents cause almost 44,000 residential fires, resulting in more than 400 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and almost $1.5 billion in property damages annually.
While this year’s National Electrical Safety Month campaign is focused on “Electrification: E-Mobility,” Meeks will commemorate the campaign by offering you basic home electricity safety tips. Today’s electrical services, wiring, appliances, devices, and related components are safer than ever, and homeowners can optimize their safety by conducting some simple inspections and following some other electrical-related rules of thumb.
Check Your Home for These Electrical Hazards
To ensure the ongoing electrical safety of your household, you should familiarize yourself with all elements of your home’s electrical components and conduct periodic inspections of most of them. The following electrical safety checklist can help guide your home assessment:
Cords, plugs, extension cords, and surge protectors—check annually for fraying, exposed wires, or other damage. Plug prongs should be unbent and fit snugly into outlets without excessive resistance and, once in place, not easily move.
Outlets—periodically check to ensure that no individual outlet is overloaded with multiple high-wattage or heat-producing devices.
Major appliances—should be plugged into specialized outlets as needed that have been designed to handle their electrical loads.
Lighting—ensure that any new lightbulbs do not exceed the maximum wattage listed by the lamp or light fixture’s max wattage sticker.
Interrupters—ground fault circuit interrupter outlets should be located wherever there is a risk of water exposure (outdoors, kitchen, bathroom, basement, garage, etc.). Required by code, these interrupters significantly reduce the risk of accidental shock or electrocution caused by water conduction. While not required by code, arc fault circuit interrupters shut off the current when they detect arc faults to help reduce the risk of electrical fires. Periodically test interrupters by plugging a device into the receptacle and pressing the test button, which should depower the device until the button is reset.
Child protection—check tamper-resistant electrical outlets installed in most newer homes, and consider installing them in older homes. You can also install outlet covers on easy-to-reach outlets.
Electrical Panel—make sure that each circuit breaker or fuse is correctly labeled to conform with the rooms, outlets, and/or appliances they serve.
Warning Signs That an Electrician Should Check
If you notice anything odd about any electrical components in your home, an electrician should investigate the issue if you cannot uncover the source of the anomaly yourself. For example, if a circuit breaker frequently trips for no apparent reason, or in older homes, fuses tend to blow out often, an electrician should source the cause. Other electrical anomalies that represent a potential safety hazard that an electrician should investigate include:
- Electrical shocks—even a mild electrical shock or tingling sensation from a light switch or outlet should be investigated because it means that electrical flows are not being safely contained.
- Electrical Burning Odor—the more persistent such odors, the more dire the likely threat—if it comes with smoke, you have a potential emergency.
- Warm Switches, Outlets, or Appliances—switches and outlets should not be warmer to the touch than the ambient temperature, and most appliances should not generate heat when they are not being used. Such warmth could indicate a problem with your electrical system that needs a closer examination.
- Flickering lights—this warning sign usually indicates a problem related to electrical demand within a specific circuit that an electrician should address.
- Flooding and Leaks—a plumber will likely be your first call when your home floods or experiences a significant leak in the plumbing. However, if the water is saturating or rising to the level of outlets or other electrical components, it can damage your electrical system and pose a shock hazard to anyone touching the water.
- Electrical Humming—lights, appliances or other electrical devices that persistently hum may be a sign that there is an underlying problem with the electrical system that should be investigated before it gets worse.
To Optimize Your Electrical Safety, Contact Meeks
We trust that you have found these electrical safety tips helpful. If your home electrical system inspection has uncovered any safety concerns, Meeks Electrical Service would gladly help you correct the issue. For greater peace of mind, we also offer complete home inspections to ensure the safety and operational efficiency of your home’s electrical components. For all your Tallahassee-area residential or business electrical needs, contact us at (850) 575-3201.