15 safety tips to implement in your home.
Electricity is an essential part of our lives – for lighting, for heating, for cooling, and for operating household appliances. But electricity can also be a safety hazard, and if we are not careful, electricity has the potential to injure or kill our loved ones.
In order to keep your family safe, Sunstone has put together our top 15 electrical safety tips for both inside and outside your house.
1. Check your wires and cords.
Shoddy connections are a threat not only to your appliances but to your life as well. Make sure wires and plugs are not frayed or damaged. Fully unwind cords to prevent overheating – do not tie them together while in use.
If you notice any damage to plugs, switches or appliances, call for repair or replace them. Never attempt to fix electrical appliances or cords by yourself.
Before drilling into walls, find out where the electrical wires are located near switches and outlets, so you do not hit them.
2. Turn off unused appliances.
Turn off appliances such as heaters, air conditioners and ovens whenever you leave home. In the bathroom, always unplug and safely store hairdryers, electric shavers, and hair straighteners after use.
Never ever leave heat-generating appliances unattended as these could potentially start a fire.
If you feel a shock, tingle or spark from an electrical appliance, turn it off immediately and unplug it.
3. Install surge protectors.
Instead of connecting multiple plugs, install surge protectors in areas where you have several appliances running all at the same time. These include the living room, den, or family room. Do not piggy-back a double adapter as this can start an electrical fire.
4. Childproof your power outlets.
We always emphasise electrical safety for kids. If you have small children and mischievous pets, be sure to cover your electrical outlets with safety caps so the little ones are not tempted to poke their fingers or other objects into the sockets.
5. Minimise the use of extension cords.
Extension cords should only be a temporary solution – not a permanent electrical outlet. Plug your gadgets and appliances directly into the wall whenever possible. If you have plenty of electrical appliances, ask a qualified electrician to install additional circuits or outlets.
If you have to use an extension cord, keep the cables to the side or around walls, so people do not trip over them. Do not run them under carpets or rugs as they could spark and burn.
6. Operate appliances with caution.
Do not leave cables hanging where children can pull them. If you are unplugging an electrical appliance from the socket, pull the plug and not the cord. Yanking the cord might loosen internal wiring.
How often do you poke your toasters with a fork? Don’t do that! Never put anything inside toasters and similar appliances. Also, keep electrical appliances away from water.
7. Ensure adequate space around appliances that emit air.
Electrical appliances such as televisions and computers can generate tremendous amounts of heat. For this reason, you should always have several inches of clearance all around to let air circulate.
Even built-in appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators have requirements for free space surrounding them to ensure optimal performance. Poor ventilation can lead to overheating and appliance damage.
8. Know where your safety switch is located.
A safety switch can save hundreds of lives, which is why every home should have one. Safety switches are cheap and easy to install. If your house does not have a safety switch yet, ask a licensed electrician to install one as soon as possible.
9. Handle lights properly.
Electrical safety around the home includes handling light bulbs and switches properly. Never replace a bulb with the light switch on. Do not touch a light bulb or switch with wet hands.
When replacing a light bulb, be sure to check if it has the correct wattage to prevent overheating. If you are installing tiles around light fittings, contact a licensed sparkie to remove the cover plates.
10. Don’t overload a power board.
You do not want to overload your power board with too many appliances. You should also make sure that it has the correct amperage to support all the appliances you are plugging in.
Inspect your power boards regularly. If there are signs of scorching or discolouration, replace them right away.
11. Steer clear of power lines.
Every time you are on your roof, stay away from power lines that connect your home to the grid.
Before climbing a ladder, installing an antenna, picking fruit, or pruning trees, look up to make sure there are no power lines within the vicinity.
If working near them is inevitable, keep a safe distance of at least 6.4 metres for wires on poles and 10 metres for wires on towers.
Never touch a sagging power line! Live wires are extremely hazardous and can kill you immediately. Call the police or your local electricity distributor if you notice a fallen power line.
Watch your kids whenever they are playing outdoors. Do not allow them to fly kites or climb trees near overhead power lines.
12. Know where your underground wires are laid out.
If you are landscaping or renovating your yard, get someone to inspect the ground before you start digging, so you do not damage the wires underneath. You can call the Dial-Before-You-Dig service to locate any existing cables or pipelines on your property.
13. Extension cords should be rated for outdoor use.
If you need extension cords for yard work, be sure to use those that are designed for outdoors. These types of devices are built to withstand the weather.
14. Water and electricity should never mix.
There is nothing more lethal than electricity getting into contact with water. Therefore, it is imperative that you do not operate electrical appliances near baths, sinks and most importantly, around swimming pools. Swimming pool electrocution is likely to be fatal because bare feet and wet skin can reduce body insulation and resistance.
Always wear rubber or plastic-soled shoes when operating electrical appliances in laundries, on concrete floors, or outdoors with wet areas.
If you notice a water leak in your home, call a licensed plumber to repair it immediately. If water leaks are left too long, water could seep into your electrical sockets and power circuits and cause a fire.
15. Maintain greens properly.
Overgrown trees can get tangled with power lines. Make sure you have them trimmed regularly to avoid accidents. If possible, plant low-growing vegetation around your home.
Contact Sunstone electricians at any time for all your electric needs.
One of the most important electricity safety tips at home is to avoid making repairs yourself. While it can be tempting to DIY to save a few bucks, electricity is dangerous and often electrical problems can only be safely fixed by a qualified and licensed electrician.
Sunstone Electrical and Data’s licensed tradies are trained to assess risks, identify possible dangers, and ensure your safety at all times when doing electrical work. If you need electrical repairs done by a professional, contact Sunstone today.