Are You Considering Home Electrical Safety Inspection Audit?
Have you conducted an audit of the connections, cords, gadgets (aside from major appliances), and other electrical equipment in your home? If not, such an audit is virtually a must. Usually, a male person can do these things; husband, brother or other experienced person.
You can start checking all lighting, including bulbs and sockets, all cords and extension cords, and all TV or audio equipment. Bulbs with wattages too high for the size of a fixture may overheat and cause a fire, so you should replace oversized bulbs with others of appropriate wattages. If the correct wattage is not indicated, use a bulb no larger than 60 watts.
Make sure all electrical cords are placed out of traffic areas so that people will not trip or fall over them. Stepping on cords can damage them, too, and produce fire hazards. Also check to make sure that cords do not have furniture resting on them. Cords should not be frayed, should not be wrapped around themselves or any object, and should never be attached to walls with nails or staples.
Extension cords should be equipped with safety covers and should never be expected to carry more than their proper loads. Both the cord and the electrical device will normally have electrical ratings.
Wall outlets and switches call for special attention. Whether they are in use or not, the same basic safety rules apply. All switches and wall outlets should be checked to make sure they are working properly and fixed if they are not. You can test them by touching: an unusually warm outlet or switch may indicate an unsafe wiring condition. Plugs should fit into outlets snugly, and all outlets should have face plates so that no wiring is exposed.
Kitchen countertop appliances like TVs, radios, and other home entertainment equipment, should be placed so that they remain dry. If they give off heat, as does a toaster, they should have some space to “breathe.” Countertop appliances should be unplugged when not in use.
Cords for countertop appliances are critically important. These should never be placed so that they can come into contact with hot surfaces; this applies especially to cords around toasters, ovens, and ranges. The same rule holds where water or wet surfaces are concerned.
Because ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) can prevent many electrocution authorities recommends that all countertop outlets be equipped with them. They should also be used in bathrooms and other areas where there is a risk of electrical shock. Test your GFCIs regularly in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.
Other electrical appliances and equipment require other kinds of safety care. These items can include hair dryers, curling irons, and electric blankets.
A universal rule is that such devices be unplugged when not in use. Plugged in and allowed to fall into water, they can cause an electrocution. They should also be in good operating condition, with no damaged wiring or other parts.
Do not use portable electric heaters in the bathroom or other rooms where they may come into contact with water. Keep any use of electrical devices or appliances in such rooms to a minimum.
Basement, garage, and workshop power tools and outlets constitute another extremely important area of safety concern. Power tools should have three-pronged plugs to indicate that they are double insulated. These plugs reduce the risk of electric shock.
Check your fuse box or circuit breaker. A fuse of the wrong size can present a fire hazard. If you do not know what sizes are correct, an electrician can tell you. Your circuit breakers should be “exercised” periodically if they are to remain in good working order. This procedure is simple: (1) Turn off your freezer, refrigerator, and air conditioner. (2) Flip each circuit breaker off and on three times. (3) Turn the appliances back on. Repeat this routine at least once a year. Also check the GFCIs on your basement, garage, or workshop equipment to make sure they are working properly.
Receptacles located outdoors represent a final stage in your electrical audit.
These receptacles or outlets should have waterproof covers that keep water out and prevent malfunctions. The covers should be closed when not in use. If your home has no GFCIs on outside receptacles, you should have them installed.
As regards to electric lawn mowers and other electric garden tools and appliances, the basic rules of safety apply. But remember: extension cords used outside should be specifically designed for such use, or you may be risking a fire or a serious shock.
Rules should always apply with regards to electrical safety: if you can afford to hire an electrician, the better. If you are in doubt, consult an experienced person. If you don’t have any knowledge of these things at home, learn with the experts or self-study with guides. Remember: this is very important to ensure the safety of your family; also, to prevent accidents, fire, damages and human lives.
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