Electrical Outlet Safety Tips
Working from home has me plugging in a lot more devices at the same time than I normally would – my computer, two phones, my son’s tablet, and his Switch. Generally, I want them all close, which means the nearby outlets are full. Ends up that one of my outlets was loose and tripped the breaker. That got me thinking about outlet safety, and I put together some electrical safety tips for you to consider.
At Santee Cooper, we recommend using a power strip that offers surge protection. It also can save you energy when you turn off all those power-sucking devices at once. Make sure it’s not too close to furniture or covered by any type of cloth, like a blanket or piece of clothing, and turn it off when it’s not in use.
Although surge protectors are great, keep in mind that the National Fire Protection Association recommends anything that gives off heat be plugged in directly to the outlet, that includes hair dryers, crock pots, heated blankets, etc.
If you find yourself without an outlet close to you and you decide to use an extension cord, remember that they should only be used temporarily and never run under rugs. If a cord is frayed, don’t use it. Also, a warm cord may mean that there is something wrong with it. If you notice an extension cord that’s warm or frayed, or both, unplug it immediately and throw it away.
Speaking of damaged electrical equipment, you should also check your outlets for any signs of damage or deterioration. Make sure there are no exposed wires or cracks between the cover and the wall, and if an outlet cover is cracked, replace it.
One more thing to consider – if an outlet is next to a water source or it is located outside, it should be a ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI. These outlets are designed to stop the flow of electricity as soon as a fault is detected which can prevent electrocution or fire.
I’m sure I’m not alone in increasing my dependence on electrical devices lately, and I hope my experience prompts you to take a quick survey of the electrical equipment around your house. After all, electrical safety should be something we focus on all year round, not just during National Electrical Safety Month. As a wrap up to our series, check out our “5 Tips for Throwing a Social Distance Dance Party” video. Stay Safe everyone!