Electrical safety dos and do nots for homeowners
Ensuring you stay safe when dealing with electricity is essential
Can you imagine your home without electricity? It would be a real challenge because electricity is part of our daily lives. However, electricity needs to be treated with care as it is also dangerous and is the leading cause of home fires. Electricity has been known to kill, maim, burn and injure very badly human beings. Therefore, knowing what to do and what to not do while handling electricity at home is important.
Read on and learn about the dos and don’ts, that can help to keep you and your family safe.
What can you do around electricity that can help and keep you safe
If you are not using your electronics or appliances unplug them
Unplugging electronics and appliances saves power by reducing phantom drainage. Phantom drainage occurs, even when you are not using your appliances or electronics, as they will still consume energy if plugged in. For instance, your DVD or TV uses the standby power. The below section is a brief summary of phantom drainage and what it means.
Electricity is a form of energy that is transmitted through a metal or conductive medium or conduit, and transmits power to a device or appliance. You can't see electricity, but it can me measured by the potential difference of energy when transferred between two points in a connected circuit, this uses OHM's law and is represented by the formula V=IR where V = Voltage, I = current and R = Resistance.
Whenever you turn off a light, a device or appliance, they still draw power to support the status of standby mode. You will probably notice these on consoles, TV's computers, appliances etc. This enables the devices to be in both a ready state and boot up more quickly and have some power to support that boot up. Naturally, this means your electricity costs will continue to increase, whilst your device are not being used per se, but in a state of readiness.
To prevent this you should unplug the device from the power source, which removes it from the grid and is a clear hard solution to prevent phantom drainage. A smarter solution is to use a power strip, this device has several outlets to plug into, a surge protector and a short power extender. It has sensors embedded that detect whether all devices are off, and then shuts itself off from the main grid As long as you have a Tier 1 plug solution, it will turn itself off simulating the results you would achieve as if you had unplugged the device from the grid, the result, no phantom drainage and no increasing bills from non use drainage.
Additionally, unplugging the electronics and appliances reduces the risk of electric shock. Even if you accidentally touch them with wet hands, you can’t get shocked because there is no running power or power supply to the device. Unplugging also protects your appliances and electronics from damage by unexpected power surges and overheating.
Replace damaged power cords
Damaged power cords are a safety risk for you and your family. Broken insulation exposes the live wires, and they can cause you or a loved one an electric shock when touched with bare hands, as the electricity will be transferred through the body. Additionally, damaged cables can overheat, spark or spark out, and even cause an electrical fire. If you are unsure of what you are doing, when it comes to exposed, frayed or damaged wiring, you should either safely switch off and unplug the device, or wire, and if cheap, dispose of it safely and in an environmentally safe way. If it is an expensive wire it may need replacing, only if it can be unplugged in a modular way, if not and it is integrated into the unit or device, call and use the services of a reliable and trusted electrician.
You should keep your sockets, electronics and appliances away from water. All electronics, appliances, extension cords, and outlets in your home should be located far from wet areas. Water quickly conducts electricity which can lead to electrified puddles, or to cause am electric shock. You should also avoid touching your appliance, sockets, and switches with wet hands. Additionally, water can cause your electronics and appliances to short-circuit, which will damage them.
Use fixtures and light bulbs with the same wattage
Using the right fixtures prevents electrical problems such as permanent damage to the light fixtures or quick burnout for the light bulbs. Also, using the same voltage protects your light bulbs from overheating, which could melt the insulation on the wires and the light bulbs.
Install safety covers on your sockets
Your sockets should be covered with protective material, especially when you have children in your home. It prevents them from inserting objects into the outlets, which might cause electrical shocks. Also, the protective cover prevents water from ingression (getting into something through a small area) into the sockets.
Feel the plastic surface of your outlets
Touching your sockets is the surest way to know if your home has wiring issues. When the outlets are warm, the socket is overloaded, or the insulation is melting due to the heat. Additionally, hot or warm outlets could also indicate wiring issues, or the casing on the outlets could be unfit. Touching the casing can tell this, but:
Do not insert anything into the sockets that are not designed to be inserted there.