You rely on electricity every minute of the day. You charge your phone every night, use the microwave, and adjust the thermostat to deal with the extreme Texas heat.
Despite this near-constant use, you probably don’t know how your home’s power works. You might be using unsafe practices, unknowingly putting your family at risk.
As a Texas homeowner, you should understand the basics of electrical safety. See below for the top ways to protect your home and family.
1. Don’t DIY electrical work
Maintaining a home isn’t cheap. When you notice an electrical issue or want to remodel your home, it’s tempting to find a YouTube tutorial and handle the task yourself.
Unless you have electrical training and experience, working with your home’s electrical system can cause severe injuries and death. What seemed like a simple project can change your life forever.
Plus, even if you aren’t injured, you may make a mistake that creates an electricity leak. Along with potentially electrocuting someone, you can cause a deadly house fire.
Your reworked system might also fail to meet local regulations.
Avoid all of these problems and risks by hiring a professional electrician to handle all of your electrical needs. It will cost a bit upfront, but you can prevent more serious costs down the road.
2. Only hire reputable electricians
Additionally, you should carefully research every electric company you consider hiring. Don’t just choose the electrician who offers the lowest price or says they’ll get the job done quicker.
Check their reviews to see if other customers are happy with their work. Look for any claims and complaints against them. Make sure they are licensed to provide the services they’re offering.
Hiring someone who cuts corners or uses unsafe practices may mean paying another company to redo their work later on. If the contractor makes a serious mistake, you might also risk fire, electrocution, and even death.
3. Don’t overload your circuits
Each outlet in your home puts out a specific amount of energy. Plugging too many devices into your outlets can overload them. More energy will have to move through them, increasing the chances of overheating and catching fire.
Before plugging something in, make sure the device only requires the amount of energy the outlet is designed to manage. Avoid plugging multiple high-wattage appliances into the same outlet. You should also only plug appliances directly into the wall outlet rather than a multi-outlet converter.
Overheating outlets will feel warm or hot to the touch, so get in the habit of checking your outlets regularly. If any of them contain heat, unplug all of your devices and call an electrician to check your home.
Smart plugs are another great way to prevent overheating. These devices monitor the amount of electricity coming through the outlet. If anything is amiss, the smart plug will let you know. You can control these plugs through your phone as well. You can easily turn them off when you’re not actively using them to further avoid overheating.
4. Keep electricity away from water
You likely know that you shouldn’t use hair dryers near water or get an electrical appliance wet, especially when it’s plugged in. These common-sense rules aren’t the only ones to follow, however.
Never use an electrical device when your hands are wet, even if they’re just damp. Don’t bring your phone into the bath and never, ever use it around water when it’s plugged in to charge.
You should also take care to keep appliances away from fish tanks, plant pots, and other less-than-obvious items that use water. These practices will protect your family and prevent damage to your home and devices.
5. Childproof your outlets
Kids are curious. Unfortunately, that curiosity is combined with an ignorance about the world’s dangers, including electrical currents. Children may be tempted to play with cords that are plugged in or to stick metal objects into the outlets. They may also try to cut through live wires or play with appliances that are actively electrified.
You can’t control what your kids do, but you can restrict their access to the dangers in your home. Use tamper-resistant covers to keep them away from outlets. Keep appliances such as toasters in a high, out-of-reach place. Never leave vacuums or other tools plugged in when you leave the room.
Most importantly, teach your children about the dangers of electricity. Make sure they know that any electrical device should never be touched or played with.
6. Pay attention to electrical issues
Have you noticed flickering lights or changes in your power quality? You may have a problem with your home’s wiring.
Unlike most home problems, you shouldn’t add electrical issues to your honey-do list. You need to resolve them immediately.
Reach out to a local electrician to request an inspection. Explain the signs you’ve been seeing so they know what they’re dealing with. With quick action, you can hopefully fix the issue before frayed or deteriorating wiring can spark a fire.
7. Replace damaged cords and wires
Power cords wear out over time. When the coating on the cord breaks and wears down, the live wires are exposed. These wires can electrocute anyone that touches them or create sparks that grow into a fire. Crushed cords are also dangerous. As the insulation is cracked or crushed, it won’t manage heat effectively. If your cord is under a carpet or near fabric, it can easily start a fire.
As annoying as it can be to replace these parts, doing so is critical. Treat your cords with care and replace them immediately when needed.
8. Unplug unused devices
When numerous appliances are plugged in at the same time, it increases the amount of energy running through your home. If you’re not careful, this can cause overheating. Protect your home by unplugging any devices that aren’t in use. This will decrease the risk of an electrical fire and help you save on energy costs.