Stay Safe This Season With These Five Electrical Tips

Stay Safe This Season With These Five Electrical Tips
29 Apr 2016

By David Brender National Program Manager for Electrical Applications, Copper Development Association

Electrical wiring — it provides light, entertainment, heat and many other conveniences in and around your home, but without proper care, electrical wiring could potentially deliver a lethal jolt to a human body, or burn a home to the ground. Home electrical hazards account for an estimated 25,900 fires each year, nearly 300 deaths, more than 1,120 injuries and $1.1 billion in property damage according to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System. With National Electrical Safety Month in May, reviewing your electrical system is important. Below are a few tips to keep you, and your property, safe this season.

1. Reduce Excessive Attic Temperatures

Come summer time, the temperature inside your attic will tend to rise, potentially causing dangerous conditions.  If the wires are buried in attic insulation, pass over light fixtures or, worst of all, are arranged in tight bundles, they become even hotter than if they’re out in the open. To help reduce excessive temperatures that could possibly lead to fires, use larger diameter wires than minimum requirements because they offer less resistance to electrical current, and they permit more current flow while staying cooler.

2. Replace Old Wiring

Along with spring cleaning, it’s a great time to update your electrical wiring. If your home is more than 25 years old, you may be living with an inadequate and possibly hazardous wiring system— consider replacing the wiring with modern copper branch circuits. Have a qualified electrician inspect your wiring for dangerous conditions.

3. Avoid Overloaded or Damaged Extension CordsExtenshion Chord Shutter (2)

Electrical extension cords power everything from hedge trimmers to power saws to drink mixers, but not all extension cords are created equal. An improperly sized extension cord can cause a tool or appliance motor to burn out if allowed to run for too long. It is important to know how much electrical current (typically rated in amperes, or amps) each electric tool requires. Check your tool or appliance manual for extension cord requirements to ensure proper operation of the equipment.

4. Stay Away from Wet Locations

Wet locations such as kitchens, baths and utility rooms — as well as grounded areas like your basement or garage — require outlets protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, or GFCIs. If GFCIs have already been installed near sinks and dishwashers, test their reset buttons to be sure they are working properly. Have an electrician inspect your outlets to make sure you have GFCI outlets where required.

5. Install a Lightning Protection System

Severe thunder and lightning can cause dangerous conditions, including thousands of dollars of damage to electrical equipment. Lightning protection systems do not attract lightning to structures, nor do they repel it. Rather, these systems intercept the lightning and channel the energy onto a low-resistance path, thus safely discharging, or “grounding,” the electrical current to the earth.

The best way to safeguard against electrical hazards is to have a professional electrician install, inspect and — if necessary — upgrade your wiring. It’s not worth the risk to rely on non-copper wiring materials that can corrode, loosen or fail under pressure.

Visit the CDA’s Building Wire section for more information about residential electrical wiring.

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Comments

  1. Good tips to avoid too much eat. That’s a good first start to staying safe around your electrical wiring. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. I like that you talked about how it would be a good idea to replace the old wiring. My fiance and I just bought a fixer-upper and it has some pretty old wiring. It seems like we should get an electrician to replace our home’s wiring. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about getting shocked or an electrical fire starting in our home.

  3. My family and I just moved into a new home and have already had some interesting experiences with the lighting and power. You mentioned that if your home is more than 25 years old, you may be living with an inadequate and possibly hazardous wiring system and you should consider replacing the wiring. Do most electricians offer regular maintenance and replacement services? It appears that this could be the answer to our electricity issues.

  4. I want to improve the electrical system in my house. Thanks for the advice about how you should avoid overloaded or damaged extension cords. It would also be smart to get an electrician to help you in redoing wiring.

  5. I like what this article recommends about avoiding overloaded circuits and extension cords. It makes sense that this is a common point of failure when dealing with home electricity. It’s something to remember because I want to make sure my home has no problem during the holidays.

  6. Great tips. I really like your idea of installing a Lightning Protection System. It will be very helpful in the rainy season.

  7. Thanks for the tip on updating your electrical wiring along with your spring cleaning! This is a great idea because then you are keeping up on this regularly. I think it would be smart to have an electrician come inspect your home once a year just as a method of preventing big problems in the future.

  8. My family just moved into a new house, and I want to be sure that the electrical system is safe. It’s good to know that wiring that is 25 years should be inspected and possibly replaced with more modern circuits. Something else to do is to get an electrician to help you that is local and available so that you can get quick help if there is an emergency.

  9. These are all great tips and absolutely realistic. People always take for granted their electrical systems, but a lot can go wrong in an instant. Every homeowner or building manager takes on the responsibility to ensure their electrical systems are safe. An annual walk through with a trusted electrician to review your electrical system is a small price to pay for peace of mind that your system is safe and reliable.

  10. Good tips for staying safe this season. Replacing old faulty wiring is a good start to making your home safer.

  11. This is some really good information about electricians. I didn’t realize that it might be a good idea to look into lightening protection. It does seem like a good thing to be considering when you live in an area that get a lot of lightening storms.

  12. hat’s a good tip to replace old wiring. You wouldn’t want a device or outlet that was unsafe. I’ll have to check my wiring and maybe call an electrician.

  13. I agree that when it comes to being safe with electricity it is important to avoid overloading extension cords. It makes sense that knowing this ca help you avoid shorts and keep your family safe. I can see how consulting with a professional can help you take the precautions needed to avoid damaging your home and doing costly repairs.

  14. Wow both of the videos that you have shared in your post are very good and informative. The videos look amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this post. Keep posting and keep growing.

  15. Great tips! Good thing you mentioned about replacing damaged extension cords as this can also pose serious risks when neglected. Thanks for sharing by the way!

  16. I really like your tip about making sure that you avoid overloaded and damaged extension cords and to know how much electrical current each tool requires. That seems like a great way to make sure that nothing gets overloaded so you can avoid any accidents. Since we are going to be remodeling our kitchen, we are going to have quite a few tools plugged in. Making sure that we don’t use anything that’s damaged will ensure that the process goes over smoothly and safely. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I like how you said in your second point that it’s possible you have inadequate or hazardous wiring systems if they are really old. With how technology keeps advancing and changing it’s important to keep those systems up to date for safety as well as efficiency. It is definitely a good idea to contact a cabling service to do that for you so there aren’t any accidents that happen because of lack of experience.

  18. Key safety tips to keep people from tragedy around electrical hazards. Thank you for these critical reminders.

  19. I think it is important that you mentioned avoiding potentially wet areas when dealing with your electrical system. Safety should always be a top priority when getting things fixed. I have doubts in my ability to repair, so I will probably need a professional to help wire our basement.

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