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Electrical Dangers: How to protect your family

Saturday, March 10, 2018
By Property Team

With electric appliances being so common in modern homes, it's easy to forget that there are very real risks and hazards associated with their use. Here are some useful safety tips

Electricity is part of our lives. We use it from the moment we wake up and throughout the day. As a result, we sometimes forget how powerful and dangerous it can be. On any given day, it's likely that most people use several different electrical appliances. An extension cord in the bedroom outlet sparks. The power goes out every time the clothes dryer starts to spin. The lights flicker when the central air is switched on. These are just a few tell-tale signs that the wiring in your house may need an upgrade. But experts say too often these signs go unnoticed or ignored, until it is too late. We may think we know all there is to know about the dangers of electrical mishaps, but there are still electrical safety rules to be strictly observed. Here are some information to help you maintain proper caution, to help keep you and your family safe around the house, and to avoid electrical fires and accidents:

Potential hazards
Every year thousand of people get electrocuted in their homes or work place. This might involve circuit breakers, switches, receptacles, outlets, cords, plugs and light fixtures. It is important for everyone to stay on the lookout for potential hazards that could signal it is time to upgrade your home wiring capacity.

The reality is that we keep bringing more and more electrical products into our homes. But if a home is more than 25 to 30 years old, the home wiring system may not be designed to handle the combined amount of electricity that today's products and appliances demand. We all need to be aware of warning signs that seem common place, but could indicate a potentially serious safety hazard.

Being safe when using electrical appliances, extension cords, light bulbs and other equipment is easy, and safety tips should be included in household rules and daily behaviour expectations for all members of the family. Some older homes could still be wired with normal wiring service, which normally is enough to power basic lighting and small appliances. However, because family members typically want all of those small appliances, as well as larger electrical appliances, such as water heaters, ranges, clothes dryers and central air, they may find more capacity might be required. According to one recent survey, improper electrical wiring accounts for over 25% of the estimated electrical system fires.

Warning signals
Following are some warning signs that one should pay attention to avoid electrical fire hazard   

  • Flickering lights: This could indicate loose connections, overloaded circuits, improper wiring.
  • You always get shock in your home: A properly wired and grounded electrical system will protect you from most potential shocks.
  • Overloaded outlets: Too many appliances plugged into a single outlet could indicate your house may not have the required number of outlets.
  • Unusual smells: Burning plastic smells may indicate a loose or broken connection, overheating components, arcing or sparking inside the walls, damaged wire.
  • Hot and discolored receptacles, cords and plugs: If you can't keep your hand on these for more than five seconds, you may have an overload.
  • Wobbly plugs: This could indicate that the outlet is outdated and worn. It should not be used and be replaced immediately.
  • Extension cord safety: Inspect extension cords for broken connectors, damaged insulation and missing hardware before each use. Do not run extension cords through walls, over beams, around corners. Discard damaged extension cords; don't try to repair them.

Everyone should ensure that any electricianyou hire is qualified to do the work. Always make sure to hire a licensed electrician and ensure that all applications for licenses and permits, which will require a third party inspection, are completed before work begins.

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