Light Fixture Precautions
Never put a higher watt bulb in your lighting fixtures than is recommended by the manufacturer. This can burn up the fixture's wiring, making it a fire hazard.
Flickering lights, outlets that work sporadically, circuit breakers that frequently trip or buzz, loose wall outlets, and bulbs that blow out frequently are all indications of minor electrical problems. If these problems are not monitored and repaired, they can lead to greater danger. They also may be indications of more serious electrical problems, such as improper wiring or poor grounding.
Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. There should be a sticker that indicates the maximum wattage light bulb to use in every light fixture.
Keep all halogen lights away from combustible materials such as cloths or curtains. Halogen lamps will become very hot and can be a fire hazard.
Safety Tips for Cords and Outlets
Check all cords on a regular basis. Make sure they're out of traffic paths, such as doorways, and free of frays and exposed wires.
Cords should not be placed beneath rugs where they can become a trip hazard or where frays will not be noticeable. Furthermore, covering a cord will prevent it from keeping as cool as possible.
Make sure all electrical cords are away from water, including bathtubs, sinks, and toilets (even spots prone to random spills).
DON’T yank an electrical cord from the wall. Pulling on a cord can damage the appliance, the plug or the outlet.
Do not staple or nail cords in position at any time; if the cord does not remain where desired, use tape or twist ties to secure it.
Extension cords are meant to be a temporary, not permanent solution for wiring. Do not use them on a continuous basis. Have a qualified technician add more receptacle outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords.
Never cover up extension cords with furniture, floor coverings or window treatments.
Extension cords need to be exposed to air. Avoid overloading extension cords. Just because there are six receptacles in the cord, that doesn’t mean you should plug something into every one. Extension cords are rated for a specific number of watts. Make sure the items plugged into the cord do not exceed this rating.
Always remove extension cords by the plug, not by tugging on the cord.
Never make modifications to a cord’s plug at any time – do not clip off the third prong or attempt to file down a wider prong to fit in a different outlet. Instead, use an adapter.
Install tamper-resistant devices at home to protect small fingers. In addition, keep curious children safe by keeping random objects away from your outlets.
Do your outlets hold the plug tight? If you see your iron, hair dryer, vacuum or any other appliance plug hanging half out of the outlet you need to replace that outlet before it causes more problems.
Be aware that unusually warm or hot outlets may be a sign that unsafe wiring conditions exists. Unplug any cords to these outlets and do not use until a qualified technician has checked the wiring.
Have us install tamper resistant outlets to keep small fingers and random objects away.
Cover any unused outlets to keep your family safe, especially if there are young children around.
Electric Safety Tips for Appliances
In addition to these visual signs, be watchful for the smell of burning rubber or plastic, heat coming from electrical components, or the sound of sizzling or humming coming from electrical components. These, too, are indications that something is amiss that may require electrical repair.
Only plug one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) into a receptacle outlet at a time.
Unplug appliances when they are not in use.
Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should never be used.
Appliances that generate heat, such as clocks, televisions and computer monitors, should be given several inches of clearance all around for good air circulation and cooling. Do not drape clothes, toys or other items over warm appliances.
Surge protection is in steps. One at the panel, one at your TV, one at your computer, entertainment centers and any piece of equipment at risk. Only the ones that are UL 1449 listed.
Keep all electrical appliances away from water such as sinks, bathtubs, pools or overhead vents that may drip.
Do not operate any electrical appliance with wet hands or while standing in water.
Make sure children know never to use electrical appliances near water or close to faucets or water pipes. Explain why they shouldn’t retrieve an appliance if it falls into water until it is unplugged.
Check the ventilation on appliances, such as your refrigerator, entertainment centers and computers and clean them. This will extend the life of equipment and save you money on you electric bill.
Keep clothes, curtains, toys and other potentially combustible materials at away from radiators, space heaters, heating vents and other heat sources.
Outdoor Electric Safety Tips
Stay clear of all power lines! Please remember when cleaning your gutters or painting to look for power lines that attach to your house and stay AWAY.
Fly your kite far away from power lines or substations. The kite and the string may conduct electricity – sending it right through you to the ground.
Now that you know the basics, you are better equipped to keep your home and business safely wired and your electrical system working well. Head over to our Education page is you would like to learn about electrical terms. However, don’t attempt to do extensive repairs on your own, you could injure yourself or end up doing more harm than good. To schedule work to be done, give our electrical repair experts a call. For complete listings of our services, check out our Residential and Industrial services overview page.
If you have further questions about electrical safety, call Pat Murphy Electric in Atlanta at 470-440-2017 or Knoxville at 865-409-2400. You can also fill out the Contact Us form to find out more information about our services.
Safety Tips for Home Inspections
Know the location of the circuit breaker panel and the main shut-off to the electrical system. Labeling in the control panel should identify each breaker's circuit. The main shut-off may be located outside at the meter. If something is wrong with the system, everything can be shut down from here. Panels need to be accessible for shut down and electrical repair.
When you are buying or remodeling a home, have it inspected by a qualified technician.
Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are a kind of circuit breaker that shuts off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Consider having them installed in your home. Use a qualified technician.
Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of shock. GFCIs shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard.
GFCI protected outlets must be in bathrooms, kitchens, garages, outside, in crawlspaces and unfinished basements.
Test AFCIs and GFCIs once a month to make sure they are working properly.
Every 3 months you need to change your air filter. This helps you save money in the long run.
Do not attempt to make your own repairs unless you are an expert. Electrical repairs are best left to the professionals.
Smoke detectors should be installed in each bedroom. Check your smoke detectors monthly and replace the batteries yearly.
Breaker Panel Precautions
Breaker panels should not buzz. If you have heard your’s make a buzzing sound please call for an Electrical Inspection.
Make sure you’re not using oversized fuses or circuit breakers anywhere in your house; doing so will not allow the circuit to hold more or enhance the performance of appliances. In fact, this may actually cause overheating and lowered efficiency.
A breaker that trips immediately after it’s reset is telling you that there’s an electrical problem. Do not reset it.
Breakers trip for a reason, not because they are tired. Let us check to see if there is a problem the next time your trip.
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