Electricity is part of our everyday lives. From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed at night, we use electricity, but sometimes we forget how powerful and dangerous it can be. Accidents tend to occur when we fail to follow safety guidelines when using electrical appliances or working around power lines. If you’re a homeowner, consider these electrical safety tips inside and outside your home.

Inside the Home

  • To prevent unnecessary burns and scalding, keep water heater thermostats between 110 and 120 degrees. Many factory settings are 140 degrees or higher. Don’t forget to disconnect the water heater before making adjustments.
  • Check all electrical cords for damage and have them repaired right away. Worn or damaged cords can cause shock, short circuit, or fire.
  • Use the correct wattage in all lamps, fixtures, and appliances.
  • Do not overload electric outlets.
  • Keep water away from electrical appliances, including radios or hair dryers.
  • Never stick your fingers, toys, or other objects besides electric plugs into electric outlets. If you have small children in the home, use electric outlet covers to protect their tiny fingers.
  • Always unplug appliances before cleaning, repairing, or removing unwanted objects (crumbs or food in the toaster, for example).
  • Keep in mind that an appliance plugged in is still connected to electricity until it is unplugged.
  • Limit use of extension cords, and make sure the cord is the appropriate size for use. Some appliances and equipment require heavy-duty cords.
  • If you are using power cords, be sure to keep them tidy, secure, and away from children to prevent damage. Never rest a cord on a hot surface. Keep unused cords stored safely and neatly, too.
  • When an appliance is not in use, unplug it. This not only saves power but protects appliances from overheating or power surges.
  • Ensure all exhaust fans are clean to prevent fire hazards.
  • If any appliance omits sparks or does not work properly, unplug it immediately.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen, and never throw water on an electrical fire.
  • Always follow all appliance instructions for electrical safety tips.

Outside the Home

  • Treat every power line as if it were a “live” wire and dangerous.
  • Report broken poles or trees on power lines immediately. Take special precautions to stay away from these areas and keep others away too until they are removed.
  • Do not fly kites, drones, and other flying objects near overhead power lines.
  • Go inside during thunderstorms—it’s dangerous to be outside when there is lightning. Do not plug in or unplug appliances during storms, and avoid contact with water, pipes, washers, or dryers.
  • Always wear closed-toe shoes when operating an electric lawnmower or hedge clippers.
  • Never use electric appliances outside in the rain or on wet surfaces. Keep cords and plugs away from pools and puddles, too.
  • Inspect electric power tools for frayed cords, broken plugs, and cracked or broken housings. Repair or replace any damaged tools. Store all power tools inside so they do not get wet.
  • Use all light sets according to outdoor specifications. The same goes for holiday lights.
  • Always be aware of locations of power lines when using ladders and other tools. Stay away from electrical equipment like substations, transformer boxes, and electric poles.

Have a question about electrical safety at home? For more information, contact us.