Electricity can be used to provide lighting, run electrical appliances, such as washing machines, fridges and freezers and cookers, and operate electrical equipment such as computers and air conditioners. Despite the numerous residential applications of electricity, not many homeowners give enough attention to safety requirements. As a result, they put themselves and their families in danger, in addition to running the risk of property damage. Here are some important safety tips for every homeowner who uses electricity in their home.
Avoid overloading outlets
Electrical outlets can only supply a specific amount of power at a time. Unfortunately, these outlets are normally overloaded by connecting multiple electrical appliances and equipment at a time. This is a major reason why fire hazards occur in homes. To prevent this from happening, it is important for homeowners to load outlets according to their maximum power consumption limit, and not to exceed this limit. This means they should be aware of the power consumption of each appliance or equipment that will be connected to an outlet and ensure the total power consumption does not exceed the maximum allowable for the outlet. The same general safety rule applies if you are going to connect multiple appliances or equipment to an outlet using power strips. Power strip manufacturers often indicate the maximum power consumption limit on the casings of the power strips so make sure to carefully read it.
Install ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)
It is a no brainer: Water and electricity do not mix! Homeowners should see to it that GFCIs are installed in any room with running water, such as bathrooms and kitchens. GFCIs cut off power supply to an electrical circuit whenever they 'sense' that the circuit poses an electrical shock hazard. The installation of GFCIs has become compulsory under most national and local electrical safety codes for newer homes. Therefore, if you stay in an old house, make sure all rooms that experience constant water traffic are equipped with them.
Upgrade your appliances and equipment
Manufacturers of electrical appliances and equipment are constantly launching new models into the market with a key focus on safety improvements. By replacing your older appliances and equipment with newer versions, you can significantly mitigate the safety hazards associated with using the older appliances and equipment. For example, most old appliances come with two-pronged plugs, which exposes users to a higher risk of a shock hazard, as the outlets are not grounded. Grounding issues can be reduced by upgrading to appliances with three-pronged plugs.
Contact electrical contractors before you decide to undertake any electrical changes.