Common Electrical Safety Precautions

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There are many occasions when a homeowner will need to work on electrical appliances, but it is important to exercise proper safety precautions before you get started. Working with electricity and repairing electrical appliances can be dangerous if you fail to follow these steps. Taking the time to learn about safety and put some common sense safety precautions into practice will help you work safely and get the job done right.

Turn Off the Main Breaker

  • Any time you are working with electricity, it is important to turn off the main breaker before you get started. Turning off the main breaker shuts off all electricity to your home. Failing to take this step could result in serious injury--or even death from electrocution. When turning off the main breaker, also be sure to hang a prominent sign on the breaker box itself. This sign will alert your family members that you are working on a home repair project and that there is nothing wrong with the power. Unless you live alone, it is absolutely essential to post a sign letting everyone know what is going on; otherwise a well-meaning but uninformed person may trip the breaker and cause you to experience a serious electrical shock.

Test the Circuit Before You Begin

  • Turning off the main breaker is an important safety precaution, but before you actually start your repair you need to be sure the circuit is really dead. Always use a voltmeter to test the circuit before attempting any electrical repairs. Also be sure to unplug any appliance you plan to work on. The unit should be left unplugged for at least a couple of minutes before you attempt to dismantle or repair any of the electrical components.

Do a Monthly Home Inspection

  • Frayed and damaged wires are a leading cause of electrical fires, and many people may have those hidden dangers lurking in their homes without even knowing it. Taking the time to do a monthly safety inspection can greatly reduce the chances of having a fire in your house. When you do your monthly inspection, be sure to check all electrical appliances for frayed wires, loose connections and other potential safety hazards. If you find lamps, appliances or other items with frayed cords, stop using them immediately--and either get the cord replaced or discard the item. These simple inspections can keep your family and your home safe from electrical shock hazards and accidental fires.

Fire Safety

  • Electrical safety is a big part of any fire safety strategy, and it is essential to pay attention to how you plug in your home appliances. Plugging too many items into a single power strip can present a fire hazard, as can placing an electrical cord under the carpet. The friction caused by people walking on the carpet all day can cause those cords to fray, leaving exposed wires that could pose a significant risk of fire. Daisy chaining more than one power strip together can also create a safety hazard and significantly increase the risk of overloading the circuit. Forcing a three pronged plug into a two pronged outlet can be even more dangerous--homeowners should always use the right receptacles for each type of plug. Avoiding these common problems will help you reduce the likelihood of fire and help to keep your family safe.

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