It's easy to practice electrical safety. Remember that electricity always takes the shortest way to the ground. It will go through wire, metal, wet objects... or you. It's invisible, but very real, so treat it with respect. APS Home Inspection Service looks for improper grounds, GFCI's, improper wiring and safety in the electrical panel.
Wires run around, through and over our houses. And each year hundreds are electrocuted in their homes, and thousands are injured in electricity-related accidents... Accidents that can be prevented with a little foresight, and some common sense.
Here are some indoor safety tips:
Keep appliances like hair dryers away from water-filled tubs and sinks.
Unplug appliances before you clean them.
Use only appliances and equipment approved by Underwriters Laboratories (look for the UL listing on the label), or other recognized testing laboratories.
Don't overload outlets with cords. If your TV picture shrinks or flickers when major appliances go on, or if fuses or circuit breakers blow frequently, you should have your circuits and wiring checked.
Never unplug or carry anything by its cord. And don't run cords under carpets or furniture; the cords can overheat and cause a fire.
Make it a habit to unplug small appliances when they're not in use, and push them to the back of your counters. And make sure you use all three prongs of your electric plugs, and replace worn or frayed cords immediately. Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn't fit, and never nail or tack cords to walls or floors.
Teach your kids not to poke things into electrical outlets, toasters, or any other appliances, whether they're on or off. Use plug covers or inserts in all your outlets.
Keep electrical cords away from kids' reach. Teach them that electricity and water never mix. Keep all radios, hair dryers and other appliances secured or out of bathrooms.
Here are some outdoor safety tips:
If you have overhead electrical service, watch out for the drop line from the utility pole to your house. Don't hit it with implements or let other wires touch it. Be particularly careful when you are unloading materials from your car or truck.
Overhead power lines might look insulated. They aren't. The dark color may be weather protection or oxidation... Not insulation. And even an insulated line may have flaws in the insulation, and contact could mean serious injury. Keep away! If you must work near power lines, contact us or the utility involved before you start work. Ask that safety measures be taken, or the lines de-energized. We want to work with you to make sure you work safely.
Outdoor outlets should be on a circuit protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which are required in newer homes in bathrooms, garages, outdoors, and near sinks. GFCIs can be added as a temporary plug-in adapter, added as a replacement outlet, or even installed as a circuit breaker. Check with your electrician for options.
Keep television and radio antennas away from power lines. They should be far enough away to remain clear if they were blown over.
Teach your kids never to fly kites near any power lines. Toys or other objects caught in electrical equipment should be left alone and the kids should find an adult to help. Balls or other objects tossed or falling into an electrical substation should be left there. Call Dominion or the utility involved to retrieve the item.
Teach your kids to recognize "Danger" signs and not to climb in trees if power lines pass through or near them. They should also know that pad-mounted transformers (those metal cabinets on concrete pads) are not safe places to play. If you have any question call APS Home Inspection Service for the answers.