7 Helpful Tips for your Home and Business during National Electrical Safety Month

By Adam P. Newton, May 13, 2013, Energy Efficiency, Home Improvement, Small Biz

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It’s May, which means that it’s National Electrical Safety Month, a month designed to promote electrical safety in the workplace, home and elsewhere. This event is spearheaded by the Electrical Safety Foundation International, (ESFI) a non-profit that’s dedicated to encouraging electricity responsibility. And since Bounce Energy is an electricity company, we thought it would be helpful to provide some of our own tips and tidbits for using electricity responsibly in your home or business.

Hopefully, following some of these suggestions and adjusting the way you use electricity could prevent a fire, electrical damage, or electric shock within your household. Let’s face the facts – electrical mishaps are responsible for almost 44,000 home fires, 440 deaths, thousands of injuries and about $1.5 billion in property damage each year. By implementing just a little bit of electrical safety in some key situations, you reduce your chance of becoming an accident statistic.

1. Be mindful of plugs. You might think that it’s OK to plug a variety of appliances into one outlet on the wall, simply by picking up an accessory that allows you to turn a two-socket outlet into a four or five socket outlet. If you think it’s OK to do this, think again. Plugging too many appliances into one outlet or into one electrical cord could lead to damage to your appliances, damage to your home’s electrical system and, in a worst case scenario, a fire.

Safety Caps2. Use safety caps. You might think that safety caps are only for households with young children as a means of preventing them from sticking fingers into them. But these caps should also be applied wherever there’s an open socket, regardless of whether there are young children in the home or not. Why? It’s because covering these unused outlets can actually help your home save energy, because it will reduce drafts. A pack of these cover plugs can typically be purchased for under $10.

3. Hide electrical cords. Just about every appliance that needs to be plugged in comes with an electrical cord. But don’t just leave these cords scattered about, tuck them in and hide them. This prevents pets from chewing at them and children from playing with them, two actions that can result in electrical shock.

4. Don’t yank that plug! We know how convenient it can be to simply yank the electrical cord of an appliance out of the wall socket when you want to remove it or after you’re done using it. But that’s a poor habit to get into, both in terms of potential damage to any electrical item you have plugged in as well as the socket and greater electrical system in the household. So don’t yank on cords, instead gently remove the electrical cord from the point of insertion by gripping the plug.

5. Don’t rely on electrical tape. People have been using this stuff to complete patchwork jobs for years, but it’s not always a smart choice. Typically, when you need to use electrical tape, it’s really a sign that a certain electrical cord is past its prime. So beware of electrical tape and consider just replacing the cord.

shutterstock_794804446. Protect valuable appliances with surge protectors. Power surges are spikes in the current flowing in your home’s electrical wires. And they can have dire consequences, such as short circuiting some of your appliances. That’s why it’s recommended that you purchase surge protectors to plug valuable and expensive electrical appliances, such as your computer, flat-screen TV, and Blu-Ray player, into. While individual surge protectors are one option (such units are generally inexpensive and offer multiple sockets), you can also outfit your home circuit breaker with a whole house surge protector. While this option is a little more expensive, it’s a way to safeguard every electrical appliance in your home or business, no matter how small or large.

7. Get to know your electrical box. If you blow a fuse in your house, no matter the reason, the only way to fix it is to reset the circuit breaker. It’s not hard to do – you just find your electrical box (usually located in your basement) and flip back the only switch that’s in the opposite direction of all the others. But how well do you really know your electric box? Do you know where the main fuses are? This May, talk to a knowledgeable friend or even considering hiring an electrician to give your box an inspection to make sure everything checks out OK and is up to code. But while you’re getting it inspected, take an active role and learn what switch powers what outlet. It never hurts to have this knowledge.

In honor of National Electrical Safety Month, spend a little bit of time thinking about how you use and consume electricity this month. We encourage you to develop electrical safety measures to protect your home or business. Hopefully, these 7 tips have helped!

Do you have any suggestions for improving electrical safety in your world?

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