We depend on electricity for almost all of our daily life chores, yet we take it for granted and forget about the risks and hazards that can occur if not used carefully and wisely. The following tips help you use energy efficiently while staying safe in and around your home.
Inspect wires, cables and cords thoroughly to make sure that they are free from frays, cracks, damaged insulation and other signs of wear and tear. In case of any damage, get the cords replaced by a professional. Do not attempt to repair them yourself.
Do not pull the plug from the outlet by its cord; pull the plug by its plastic housing.
Never staple or nail a cord to the wall or run it underneath the rugs or carpets. Do not run the cord through corners, doors, over beams or any place where they can be easily damaged.
Minimize the use of extension cords as much as possible. Prolonged usage of extension cords can cause overheating and even start a fire.
Inspect outlets for damages, exposed wires and gaps on a periodic basis. Seal any unused electrical outlets with safety caps.
Connecting outlets with too many plugs can heat up the outlet. Instead, have multiple outlets installed by a professional. This is safer than using extension cords and power strips.
Keep your outlets safe by replacing the old two-pronged outlets with the newer three-pronged grounded outlets. These can be used with most electrical appliances. Installing a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GCFI) outlet offers protection against electrocution.
Install outlets in kitchens and bathrooms at a height that keeps it away from water.
Replace a burnt-out circuit-breaker or fuse with another of the same amperage. Installing a higher amperage fuse can cause a fire.
Make sure that all appliances connected on that circuit are turned off or unplugged before replacing the fuse. Also remember that your hands and the floor you are standing on must be completely dry.
Check your circuit box regularly for rust formation. Rust forms when there is moisture. It can corrode the connections and lead to overheating and fire.
Never replace a burned-out fuse with items such as coins, metal pieces, wires or pins even for a short time as it can start a fire.
Always purchase electrical appliances that meet the local safety requirements.
Make it a habit to unplug small electronic appliances like irons, toasters, coffee grinders, curling irons, hair dryers and shavers when they are not in use.
Never touch electrical appliances with wet hands or while standing bare-footed on a non-carpeted concrete floor.
Clean and maintain your appliances regularly to prevent the build-up or dust, dirt, crumbs, debris or spilled food.
Do not poke your toaster with a fork, knife or any sharp object when it is switched on as it can lead to an electric shock.
Do not place any metal objects inside the microwave; doing so may cause irreparable damage.
Do not forget to clean the lint trap in the washing machine after every use. Unclogging the exhaust hose prevents overheating.
Never cover your electrical appliances such as your television or oven with a cloth when it is working, this can heat up the object. Also, make sure that the electric appliance is placed in such a way that there is enough space for heat dissipation.
Do not cover the light with paper or fabric while it is working as this can start a fire. Also, keep flammable liquids away from the light.
Never install a light bulb that exceeds the recommended wattage into the holder of your light fixture. It can lead to overheating, can burn the fixtures and fittings, and start fires
Screw in your bulb tightly into the holder. Loosely fitted bulbs can turn into big fire hazards if the bulb overheats.
Use lights and decorations that are labeled for outdoor use. Using indoor lights outside can cause fire hazards and electric shocks.
Check all the lighting and decorations, both new and old, for damages, frays and broken insulation.
While decorating, place the lights away from materials that can catch fire easily.
There is no need to keep the lights on for 24 hours a day. Switch the lights off during the day, or from time to time.
While replacing a bulb in a string of lights, make sure that the wattage rating of the replacement bulb is equal to that of the light strand. Never use a light strand that has empty sockets as it can cause an electric shock.
Remove exterior lights after 90 days.
Never use electric appliances or extension cords in the vicinity of a swimming pool. Electric shock received in a pool can be fatal.
Do not climb trees that have contact with power lines.
Choose a large, open area away from power lines for flying kites.
Do not fly kites on a cloudy day, especially when there are thunderstorms and lightning.
Be careful while using a metal ladder outdoors. These are good conductors of electricity.
Make sure that your pond pump is working correctly and does not electrify the water.
While using garden appliances like trimmers, blowers, or mowers make sure that the extension cords are free of cracks and other damages. They must be rated for outdoor use as well.
Do not barbecue on an electric grill while it is raining or drizzling.