6 Home Electrical Safety Tips
Our society has come to rely heavily on electronic devices and appliances at home in order to live comfortably. From lights to electric stoves down to laptops and smart watches that need to be plugged in frequently, there are many potential electrical risks taken every day that could lead to dangerous outcomes.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that nearly 400 people are electrocuted in the U.S. each year. The National Fire Protection Association has reported an average of 51,000 electrical home structure fires occur each year, claiming almost 500 lives, injuring more than 1,400 people, and causing more than $1.3 billion in property damage.
As technology and electrical needs become more ingrained in our everyday lives, it’s more important than ever to be safe with the tools and appliances you’re plugging in at home. Here are six ways you can start now to protect your home and yourself from electrical mishaps.
âœ”ï¸ Unplug electronics and appliances you aren’t using.
Unplugging your products from sockets or turning off power strips not only protects your household from surges or faulty connection fire hazards, it also prevents your electronics and appliances from pulling extra energy while they’re not in use.
âœ”ï¸ Only use light bulbs at or below the maximum wattage listed on your lamp or light fixture.
Using a light bulb with a wattage that is too high can lead to overheating. When light bulbs overheat, they have the potential to melt the light sockets and the wire insulation, which could lead to house fires. Check your lights and lamps before buying replacement bulbs to make sure you’re choosing the safest bulbs for your home. And Santee Cooper recommends using LEDs, which are cooler and use less energy.
âœ”ï¸ Avoid running extension cords under carpets or over thresholds.
Extension cords should only be used as a temporary solution, but even so, it’s safest to keep them on the ground and on top of carpets. Cords under rugs can overheat because of the wear on the cord or people walking over them. Major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet, so if your only option is to use an extension cord, contact an electrician who can help you reroute your wiring to create a closer outlet for your needs.
âœ”ï¸ Keep all electrical appliances away from water and make sure your hands are dry when you touch anything electrical.
You’ve heard it before – water and electricity don’t mix. So, keep an eye on where you place your toaster, hair dryer or electric toothbrush charger and remember to fully dry your hands before using any of them. Also, be sure that ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets are installed anywhere a water source is present. These can help prevent electrocution by cutting off the power when a fault is recognized.
âœ”ï¸ Hire trusted professionals to fix or replace electrical appliances in your home.
While DIY projects are all the rage, it’s smarter to call in a professional to make sure electrical appliances are in ideal conditions and connected correctly to your home system. Electricity is not to be messed with, and if you make a wrong step in working on your home project, it could end up leading to a very serious injury. If you’re looking for trusted experts, Santee Cooper has a list of recommended Trade Allies available for projects around your house. These organizations are also up to date on programs and rebates available for Santee Cooper customers.
One way we’re empowering our customers to take back their power at home is by making electrical education a priority for preventing accidents and injuries. Learn more about Santee Cooper’s EmpowerSC programs that help you make the best energy choices for your household, both inside and outside your home. With Santee Cooper, the power is yours.