It's a simple action: you flip a switch and a light comes on. But electricity is anything but simple and it's important to stay safe when working with it.
1. Cut off the power
One of the basics of electrical safety is to cut off the power at the circuit breaker box before working on anything electrical. This is the only way to ensure that there is no power running to whatever you are working on. Do not forget this step.
2. Avoid using extension cords for long periods of time
Extension cords are fine to use for temporary jobs, but they should not be used as a permanent source of power. If you find you're consistently using an extension cord in a room, call an electrician and have an outlet installed.
3. Childproof your outlets
If you have young kids, or you plan having young kids in the future, invest in some tamper-resistant receptacles for your outlets. Children are naturally curious and outlets are the perfect size for small fingers to shove things in and get hurt. There are several types of outlet covers on the market, but some of the most effective are spring-loaded and automatically cover the outlet when it's not in use.
4. Don't overload your outlets
Each outlet is designed to put out a certain amount of energy. Plugging multiple high-wattage appliances in to the same outlet can be dangerous. Try rearranging your appliances to take some of the stress off one outlet.
5. Warm outlets are not a good sign
If an outlet feels warm, or is constantly flipping the circuit breaker, call an electrician. Warm outlets can be the sign of a bad connection and can lead to fire or shock hazards.
6. Check for ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI's)
Any room that has running water should be equipped with a GFCI. GFCI's shut off the electrical current from a circuit whenever it detects that the circuit has become a shock hazard. They are required in newer homes, but if you live in an older home you'll want to check that your bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room are all equipped with GFCI's. If not, get them installed.
7. Know when to call a professional
If you don't know what to do, call an experienced professional for help. An electrician can help you avoid accidents and mistakes that could lead to fires or shocks in the future.
If you have an electrical issue that can't be solved, or a question about the safety of doing it yourself, call the experts Master Electrical Service at 801-543-2222 or visit www.masterelectrical.com