Electrical safety at home
One of the greatest risks of accidents involving electricity, voltage and currents at home is an electrical fire.
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.
Here’s what you should pay attention to in your kitchen to keep your home safe.
- When buying appliances, look for an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label to confirm that the appliance meets electrical safety standards.
- Always dry your hands completely before operating any appliance.
- Inspect appliances often and replace any damaged appliances or extension cords when needed.
- Keep your stove and sink areas well-lit to avoid accidents.
Follow these tips to prevent hazards in the bathroom.
- 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 prior to using the sink, shower or bathtub.
- Always unplug appliances such as hair tools after you are finished using them and place them in a safe spot. There are fire-retardant products available to store hot tools while they cool to prevent fires.
- Install night lights in bathrooms to allow for visibility at night.
- Installing ground fault circuit interrupters — an inexpensive electrical device commonly built into power outlets — can protect you from severe electrical shocks.
Workshop and garage safety
Power tools aren’t the only devices that can pose a safety hazard in you workshop and garage; there are other aspects of these areas that should be addressed for safety as well.
- Always verify that you are using the correct extension cord. Most outdoor extension cords are three-prong and have a thicker, more durable layer of protective insulation when compared to the common two-prong indoor extension cords.
- Your extension cords should have adequate capacity for the wattage of the tool or appliance you want to use with it in order to avoid overheating of the cord.
- Don’t daisy chain surge protectors or extension cords. Instead, use an extension cord that is long enough for your needs or switch to a closer outlet when possible.
- Regularly inspect garage doors for safe operation.
- Workshops and garages should be well lit and ventilated, with light switches located near the doors.
- 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.
Your utility room works to keep your home running smoothly. Here are some tips to keep it safe and functioning well
- Become familiar with the proper fuse ratings for your electrical circuits.
- Ensure that fuses and circuit breakers are correctly labeled.
- Know where your main electric switch is and how to turn it off.
- Keep extra fuses on hand in case they need to be replaced and always turn off the main switch before changing the fuse.
- Always determine why a fuse has blown or a circuit breaker has tripped and eliminate the cause before correcting the issue.
- Make sure your washer and dryer are electrically grounded.
General electrical safety tips
Here are some additional tips to keep every room in your home safe.
- Keep combustibles, such as clothes, blankets and towels, stored away from hot lightbulbs.
- Use electrical outlet covers to childproof plugs, especially ones close to the ground. Keep pets that have a habit of chewing and clawing away from cords that are plugged in. Inspect and test your smoke detectors regularly.
- Learn about the different types of fire extinguishers and when to use each one. Tip: The most common type of fire extinguisher found in homes is for Class A fires, but Class C fire extinguishers are needed for electrical fires.