A power strip with too many plugs being used at once.

Electrical safety tips for your home

It’s important to be proactive about the electrical safety risks in your home. Knowing how to properly use your appliances, tools and lighting can help keep you and your family safe. Follow these room-by-room tips to minimize hazards in your home.

Kitchen safety

Let’s start in the kitchen. Here’s what you should pay attention to in your kitchen to keep your home safe.

Anti-scald devices

  • There are several devices on the market that will shut the water off when it exceeds a certain temperature. It’s a good idea to install one in the kitchen sink, bath and shower.

Appliances

  • When buying appliances, look for the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) label.
  • Make sure your hands are dry before operating any appliance.
  • Replace damaged appliances and extension cords.

Fire extinguishers

  • Always keep one near your kitchen area in case you encounter a kitchen fire.

Lighting

  • Keep your stove and sink areas well-lit to avoid accidents.

Bathroom safety

Continuing, here are some tips to prevent hazards in the bathroom.

Appliances

  • Remove any appliances around the sink or bathtub area. If you have a hair dryer, electric shaver or other appliance on a nearby countertop, unplug it as a precaution when bathing a child.

Bathtubs and children

  • When filling the bathtub for your child’s bath, turn on the cold water first, then add hot water to it. When the tub is at the desired level, turn off the hot water first, and then turn off the cold water.
  • Before putting children in the bathtub, feel the water. If the water feels warm to you, it may be too hot for them.
  • Never leave a child alone in a bath, even for a minute.
  • Don’t put children in the bathtub while the water is running.

Lighting

  • Install night lights in bathrooms to allow for visibility at night.

Valves

  • Install pressure-balancing anti-scald valves to keep the temperature of running water consistent even when the water pressure changes.

GFCI outlet

  • A ground fault circuit interrupter, called a GFCI or GFI, is an inexpensive electrical device that can either be installed in your electrical system or built into a power outlet to protect you from severe electrical shocks.

Workshop and garage safety

Most of our workshops and garages are full of tools that can pose a safety hazard, but there are other aspects of these areas that should be addressed for safety.

Extension cords

  • Extension cords should have adequate capacity for the wattage of the tool or appliance you want to use to avoid overheating of the cord.

Garage doors

  • They should be inspected regularly for safe operation.

Lighting

  • Workshops should be well lit and ventilated. The garage should also be well lit with switches located at the doors.

Water heaters

  • Keep the setting at or below 120 F. If you can’t change the setting, ask a qualified plumber, contractor or your landlord to do it.

Tools

  • Always keep tools out of the reach of children.
  • Tools should be properly grounded or double insulated.
  • When not in use, disconnect power tools or lock the switches.
  • Wear eye protection when working with tools.

Utility room

Your utility room works to keep your home running smoothly. Here are some tips to keep it safe and functioning well.

Fuses and circuit breakers

  • Become familiar with the proper fuse ratings for your electrical circuits.
  • Ensure that fuses or circuit breakers are correctly labeled.
  • Always determine why a fuse has blown or a circuit breaker has tripped and eliminate the cause before correcting the issue.
  • Have extra fuses on hand and turn off the main switch before changing the fuse.
  • Know where your main electric switch is and how to turn it off.

Gas and water lines

  • Always make sure your lines are correctly marked.

Gas appliances

  • Know how to light the pilot light on gas appliances.
  • Call the gas company if you suspect a gas leak.

Valves

  • Know where your main gas and water valves are and how to close them.

Washers and dryers

  • Make sure both are electrically grounded.

Other rooms and general tips

Here are some additional tips to keep every room in your house safe.

Lighting

  • Areas with heavy traffic should be well lit.
  • Install night lights in bedrooms for children and guests.
  • Ensure stairways are well lit with switches at the top and bottom.
  • Keep combustibles, such as clothes in closets, away from hot lightbulbs.

Outlets

  • To prevent octopus connections, your home should have plenty of wall outlets for lamps and appliances.

Smoke detectors

  • Inspect and test your detectors regularly.

With these tips, you can keep your household secure from electrical hazards. Stay proactive and stay safe.

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