Safety starts with you!

Tips for spotting potential electrical hazards

Posted on Apr 26 2019 in Heartland REMC

May is National Electrical Safety Month, and here at Heartland REMC, we think it’s a great time to look around your home and check for potential safety hazards.

Remember, every electrical device has a purpose and a service lifespan. While we can extend their operations with maintenance and care, none of them are designed to last or work forever. When electricity is involved, failures can present electrical hazards that might be avoided with periodic inspections.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

Outdoor outlets or those in potentially damp locations in a kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room should include GFCI features. GFCIs are designed to sense abnormal current flows, breaking the circuit to prevent potential electric shocks from devices plugged into the outlets. 

Check your GFCIs frequently by pressing the test button. Make sure you hit the reset button when you are done. Contact a licensed electrician to replace any failing GFCI outlets.

Surge protectors

Power strips with surge protectors can help safeguard expensive equipment like televisions, home entertainment systems, and computer components from power spikes. Voltage spikes are measured in joules, and surge protectors are rated for the number of joules they can effectively absorb. That means if your surge protector is rated at 1,000 joules, it should be replaced when it hits or passes that limit. When the limit is reached, protection stops, and you’re left with a basic power strip. 

Some surge protectors include indicator lights that flicker to warn you when they’ve stopped working as designed, but many do not. If your electrical system takes a major hit, or if you don’t remember when you bought your surge protector, replacement may be the best option.

Extension cords

If you use extension cords regularly to connect devices and equipment to your wall outlets, you may live in an underwired home. With the growing number of electrical devices, having enough outlets in just the right spots can be challenging. Remember, extension cords are designed for temporary use. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says some 51,000 electrical fires are reported each year, causing more than $1.3 billion in annual property damage.

Electricity is an essential necessity for modern living. Heartland REMC is committed to providing safe, reliable, and affordable power to all of our members. We hope you’ll keep these electrical safety tips in mind so that you can note any potential hazards before damage occurs.