Every home relies on electricity, and unfortunately that means there are potential electrical safety hazards in any home or place of business. Fortunately, the hazards can be reduced or even eliminated by being aware of the potential for danger and taking steps to eliminate them. Many of the hazards you can reduce yourself, others will require the services of an electrician in Huntsville, AL. Use the following electrical safety tips to stay safer in your home.
Defective wiring is potentially one of the most insidious hazards because you may be unaware of the danger. Good quality wiring conforms to safety standards is essential for safety. Poor quality or defective wiring increases the risks of fire, power surges, arc faults, and other dangerous consequences. To avoid poor quality wiring always use a licensed electrician. Defective wiring will require the replacement of the item (such as a lamp), or the services of an electrician in Huntsville, AL for electrical repair.
Damaged or worn electrical wires increase the risk of electrical shock and/or fire. It’s wise to have a qualified electrician check your wiring on a periodically to ensure wiring is safe. This is due to the potential of rodent damage, damage from electrical surges, especially including lightning. If your home has experienced incoming surges from lightning inspection by a licensed electrician is essential for your safety.
Worn and damaged wiring can also occur due to age. Older homes should also have an electrical inspection, and if required, an electrical upgrade to replace old and faulty wires. Some electrical hazards include:
- Loose or improper connections, such as with electrical outlets or switches. The expansion and contraction due to electrical heat can over time lead to loose connections. This is best left to an electrician. Signs of a loose or faulty connection include a switch that only works intermittently, sparks or doesn’t work at all.
- Frayed appliance or extension cords pose a serious risk. Dispose of frayed or damaged extension cords and contact an appliance repair service technician for replacement of frayed or damaged appliance cords. Do not just use tape; it is a risk to your safety.
- Pinched or pierced wire insulation, which could occur from, for example, furniture sitting on an extension cord, or a workman accidently piercing an electrical wire with a staple or nail gun.
- Cracked wire insulation caused by heat, age, corrosion or bending calls for replacement of the wire.
- Overheated wires or cords indicate a problem. Wiring typically is overheated when excessive current moves through improper wiring, or the extended use of an appliance not intended for long term use.
- Damaged electrical appliances are dangerous; contact your appliance repair technician.
- Electrical wire that has been chewed by rodents calls for an electricians services. Don’t risk shock and fire!
- Multiple uses of appliances, electronics or other items with a single plug indicate insufficient outlets for your service. In addition, the long-term use of extension cords indicates a lack of adequate outlets. A Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL can provide you with the additional electrical outlets you need. Piggybacking on extension cords and adapters can lead to an overloaded circuit, damaged wiring in your home, a fire, and damage to the devices due to improper electrical supply.
- Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) outlets are required near sources of water, such as sinks, showers, tubs or swimming pools and in outdoor locations. GFCI outlets can prevent electrocution.
- Water and electricity do not mix! For example, if you have a flooded basement where electrical outlets or electrical appliances are used, do NOT enter the water. The power must be shut off before the water should be entered. If you are unable to reach the electrical service panel without going through water, leave it to a qualified electrician in Huntsville, AL. An electrician is trained and equipped with to shut the power off safely.
- Electrical appliances that trip circuit breakers, overheat, or spark heavily indicate an electrical problem. Contact an electrician in Huntsville, AL
- Flickering or dimming lights may indicate a bad connection and can lead to eventual arcing, and can result in overheating, and fire. It may also indicate a problem with the light fixture, or the home’s wiring. Contact an electrician in Huntsville, AL.
- When light bulbs burn out frequently, insert a good name brand of bulb, and ensure you are using the correct wattage. If the problem continues a potential electrical problem is indicated, contact an electrician in Huntsville, AL.
- Dead outlets can result from a poor connection with potentially dangerous arcing, a tripped breaker due to excessive heat build up resulting in melted wires or outlets, and may be due to damage to wiring. Turn off the breaker to the affected outlets until an electrician can assess the issue.
- Warm outlets or switches can indicate dangerous overheating of the circuit and should be addressed by a professional electrician. Shut off the circuit to the affected outlet or switch until an electrician can arrive.
- Frequently tripping breakers are typically a sign of an overloaded circuit. In addition, it may indicate a problem in an appliance such as a short. When it occurs, for example, after using a number of small appliances not typically used simultaneously, you should consider contacting an electrician in Huntsville, AL to upgrade the circuit.
Additional Tips for Safety
- When unplugging an appliance, make sure to hold the plug and not the cord, and turn off the appliance before plugging or unplugging to prevent arcing.
- Turn small appliances off when not in use.
- Never touch appliances or switches (including light switches) with wet hands.
- Use plug-in covers or other approved safety devices to prevent children from poking objects into outlets. An alternative is to use tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.
- Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under rugs.
- Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage.
- Consider having an electrician in Huntsville, AL to install arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) in your home.
If you are experiencing electrical problems, or recognize a potential problem after reading the electrical safety tips and hazards, contact Mister Sparky. We can schedule you for an electrical inspection and/or electrical repair. Our licensed electricians can provide the professional service you require ensuring your safety and satisfaction. A Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL possesses the expertise to ensure the service you receive meets or exceeds the industry standards. Mister Sparky is a member of the BBB with an A+ rating, and serves the North Alabama region.