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Article Archive >> Community

Is Your Home Safe from Electrical Hazards?

Is Your Home Safe from Electrical Hazards?

Your home is your castle, whether you live in a tiny studio apartment in the city or a sprawling mansion in the suburbs. But is your castle really as safe and secure as you think?
Most people don't realize the potential danger posed by electrical hazards hidden in the walls of their homes or lying unseen on their grounds. According to the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission, over 400 people are electrocuted in the United States every year. Given this alarming statistic and with May as National Electrical Safety Month, now is a good time to follow this checklist from the Leviton Institute to ensure your "castle" is truly safe.
Don't Overload Outlets
With power strips and surge protectors, it's all too easy to add more appliances to an outlet than it was designed to handle. By overloading circuits you can create a fire hazard.
Outlets and Switches
Replace any outlet or switch that has broken parts or cracks, feels warm to the touch, or has plugs that hang loose.
Power Cords and Extension Cords
Examine power and extension cords for fraying or cracking. Replace taped-over cords, or those showing wear. Never run cords or extension cords under carpets, rugs, or furniture, where overloading can easily create a fire hazard.
Use of Power Tools
Don't use power tools, even if they are properly grounded, in wet or damp spots.
Install GFCIs and Test Them Monthly
GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit
Interrupters) have prevented hundreds of electrocutions and untold numbers of injuries since the early 1970s. The National Electrical Code requires GFCI-equipped outlets in rooms with a water source or damp floor such as kitchens, bathrooms, garages, laundry rooms, crawlspaces, and in outdoor locations like hot tubs or poolside, where they should be equipped with weatherproof covers.
Be sure to make your safety inspection a yearly habit. Hire a licensed electrician to conduct an in-depth inspection every ten years.

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