1. Throw your home a birthday party
For electrical safety reasons, it’s good to know how old your home is and to celebrate its birthday with an electrical safety inspection. Older homes weren’t built to handle the electrical load our contemporary lives carry. Knowing whether your home’s electrical system has been updated to safely handle all the electrical current your family uses is imperative.
2. Listen to your breaker
A breaker that trips immediately after its reset is telling you that there’s an electrical problem. Sure, sometimes the breaker itself is to blame, and in some cases there may just be too large an electrical load operating on that circuit. But it’s more likely that the breaker is tripping because there’s a severe electrical problem. Keep pressing that breaker, and you’re likely to cause a fire.
3. Place your hand on the outlets in your home. Warm or hot outlets point to trouble.
A warm outlet could mean one of several dangerous situations is brewing: an electrical load on this circuit is too high, wiring is melting, wiring isn’t up to code or is loose. Also, note if the outlets don’t hold plugs, or if the outlet itself seems loose on the wall.
Replace any two-pronged outlets with newer, grounded three-pronged outlets. Any outlet near water should be switched to code-correct GFCI outlets. Call an electrician to handle these requests.
4. Ground older appliances
Older appliances could have grounding issues that might put you at risk for a shock. Ensure all of your appliances have three-pronged plugs that can properly connect to a grounded outlet. Any kitchen appliances with just two-pronged plugs should be replaced. If the outlets aren’t grounded, they should be replaced, and a new circuit should be installed.
Electrical work is inherently dangerous. Professional electricians receive years of training and on-the-job experience before the state grants them a license. Use discretion when attempting your own electrical work. To make sure all the electrical systems in your home are safe, up to code and working as they should, hire a trusted electrician to handle the job.
5. Make friends with your fire extinguisher
The only safe way to extinguish an electrical fire is with a fire-retardant chemical fire extinguisher. Never use water; it conducts electricity. Keep fire extinguishers on each level of your home, and know how to use them and when to replace them.