With the holidays fast approaching and Christmas trees going up, Medina EC wants you to be safe when cooking and decorating this holiday season. Electrical malfunctions account for thousands of home fires each year, resulting in deaths, injuries and property damage. The average American home was built in 1977, which means many homes simply can't handle the demands of today’s electrical appliances and devices. Keep safety in mind with these helpful tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
Learn the warning signs of an overloaded electrical system:
- Frequent tripping of circuit breakers or blowing of fuses.
- Dimming of lights when other devices are turned on.
- Buzzing sounds from switches or outlets.
- Discolored outlets.
- Appliances that seem underpowered.
How to avoid overloading circuits:
- Label your circuit breakers to understand the different circuits in your home and what they power.
- Have your home inspected by a qualified electrician if the home is older than 40 years or if you’ve had a major appliance installed.
- Have a qualified electrician install new circuits for devices that draw a lot of energy.
- Reduce your electrical load by using energy-efficient appliances and lighting.
Follow these safety tips to keep you and your home safe from electrical hazards.
- Unplug appliances when not in use to save energy and minimize the risk of shock or fire.
- Regularly inspect electrical cords and extension cords for damage. Replace if needed.
- Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis.
- Never plug a space heater or fan into an extension cord or power strip.
- Never run cords under rugs, carpets, doors or windows.
- Keep paper and other potential combustibles at least 3 feet away from heat sources.
- Use lightbulbs with the proper wattage for lamps and lighting.
- Make sure your home has smoke alarms. Test them monthly, change batteries annually and replace units every 10 years.
“It is critical that the public understands their home’s electrical system and the safety concerns associated with excessive use of outlets, and extension cords,” explains Medina EC’s Safety Coordinator, Derly Carrizales.
Medina EC encourages its members to contact a qualified electrician if they believe their home’s electrical system is unsafe.