Room by Room: Home Electrical Safety

Room by Room: Home Electrical Safety

Electricity is a safe and reliable form of energy that is used every day to power equipment and appliances in your home. However, it can be dangerous in not treated properly. The following is a checklist of items that you can use throughout your home to help protect your family.

Whole house

  • Make sure light bulbs are the appropriate wattage for all fixtures.
  • Keep portable heaters and dehumidfiers stable and placed at least three feet from walls and other objects.
  • Cover all outlets with face plates that fit snugly to walls.
  • If small children are present, install covers on all unused outlets.
  • Keep electrical cords away from foot traffic and make sure that they are not covered by rugs or furniture.
  • Do not use extension cords on a permanent basis. Install extra outlets, or move electrical devices closer to outlets.

Kitchen

  • Unplug counter top appliances when not in use.
  • Locate appliance cords where they will not come into contact with a heat source, such as the stove or range.
  • Make sure all kitchen outlets are ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected. GFCIs monitor the current that flows into circuits and shut it off if an imbalance is detected.

Bathrooms

  • Unplug all small appliances when not in use.
  • Never use electrical devices, such as a radios or hair dryers, in or near the bathtub.
  • Install only GFCI outlets in the bathroom.

Bedrooms

  • Avoid drinking water or any other type of liquid when using an electric blanket or heating pad. Do not cover an electric blanket when in use.
  • Make sure electric blankets are in good condition; check for cracks or breaks that may indicate damage.

Basement

  • Keep the electrical panel free from obstructions, and make sure your hands and the floor are dry before touching the panel.
  • Install GFCIs in outlets located near clothes washers or wash tubs, or all over the basement if it is damp.

Outdoors

  • Install protective covers on all outlets and make sure all outlets are GFCIs.
  • Make sure power tools are in good condition and wires are not cracked or frayed.
  • Store power tools indoors to keep them from being damaged by water or excessive heat.
  • Never use power tools or electrical devices near a pond or other wet location.
  • When working outdoors, use only weather-resistant extension cords marked for outdoor use.
  • Power lines may be underground as well. Before digging, call 811 to have utility lines marked.

This list is for informational purposes only and is not meant to supersede any state or local building codes. Contact your state fire marshal or local building inspector for any information regarding code requirements in your area. Remember that common sense and good safety habits are the best protection against electrical hazards.

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