There is nothing quite as exciting as moving into your new home! Now you have your own space to design and decorate to your liking and a sanctuary to call your own.
Along with home ownership come responsibilities you may not have been conscious of before. But when you arm yourself with the fundamentals of homeownership, you can prevent expensive mistakes, like catastrophic fires.
- Locate the Electrical Service Panel: Familiarizing yourself with the electrical panel in the home is a key part of electrical safety. The panel connects the interior wiring of your home to the exterior wiring from outside. The electrical service panel generally has fuses in an older home, and circuit breakers in a newer home. Check the panel does not feel hot as it may signal a panel that is not capable of meeting your home’s power demands.
- Invest in Fire Extinguishers & Learn How to Use Them: Every home should have an emergency action plan. Investing in fire extinguishers should be a chief part of your safety strategy. One should be located on each level of a home. Learn the proper techniques of use. Create an evacuation plan for the entire family to safely exit the home until the fire department arrives.
- Treat Extension Cords with Care: Cords strewn around the home pose serious tripping hazards. Make a habit of unplugging and tucking cords away when not in use, such as lamps and unused appliances. Always take care to unplug a plug itself and avoid yanking on cords. Never place extension cords near damp areas.
- Avoid Overloading Outlets: New homeowners may not be aware they can overload outlets, particularly with too many Christmas lights. This is one of the main causes of house fires. Flickering lights and darkened outlets are a sign you may have an overloaded outlet.
- Inspect Outlets and Appliances: Check that outlets and plugs are in good working order throughout the home. Outlets warm or hot to the touch signify harmful wiring or an overloaded circuit. Loose plugs must be replaced as soon as possible. Two-pronged outlets should be replaced with modern grounded three-pronged outlets. Note that outlets near bathrooms and kitchens should be Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI). These outlets prevent electrocution and should be tested often. A certified electrician can perform necessary updates safely.
*Extra Tip for Families with Small Children:
- Child-proof the Home: Electrical codes frequently change. Tamper-resistant outlets are a safety requirement in new homes. Unused outlets can be harmful to curious children. Put protectors in outlets for the sake of your children and grandchildren. In addition, tuck away cords that present tripping hazards.
A final safeguard for new homeowners in older homes is to hire a certified electrician to perform an inspection of the entire electrical system. A warning sign that your home requires wiring upgrades is blown fuses and tripped breakers. An electrician can locate potential problems and areas where wiring has deteriorated. He or she can safely perform repairs and ensure your home is protected from dangerous electrical hazards.
Now you know how to reduce the risk of electrical accidents in your home. Protect your family and get in touch with our expert electricians today. We make sure your electrical systems are safe and certified.