image001With summer just round the bend, it won’t be long before you feel the need to switch on those air conditioners. For some places, air conditioner is a must have summer resource, without which they won’t be able to function. This sudden increase in electricity consumption might trigger your system to malfunction, or to downright fail on many occasions. This may also happen during renovation. This makes it all the more important to keep an eye on the electric system of your house and get it checked by a professional regularly.

Statistics presented by the U.S. Fire Administration prove that almost 51,000 residential fires are caused each year because of faulty electrical wires. These fires result in hundreds of deaths, and even more injuries. These electrical hazards are always present but with regular maintenance during renovation, they can be properly managed. Unfortunately, many of these electrical hazards go unnoticed by home owners. Some people go as far as to ignore any warning signs and ultimately get hurt because of it.

We cannot stress enough on the importance of paying attention to these warning signs and getting a professional to resolve any issues. Many accidents can be avoided only if people get a basic understanding of electrical safety principles and are vigilant during renovation. When dealing with electrical appliances or outlets, it’s important to adhere to the safety rules and precautions.

Warning Signs

You should emphasize the importance of electrical safety in your house. As long as people are aware of the dangers of electrical mishandling, they’ll refrain from getting involved in any dangerous situations and interfering with the electrical fixtures in their home design. But how to recognize when something is wrong? Sometimes the signs are not so evident and it’s almost impossible to recognize whether something is wrong or not. Here are a number of things that can indicate if something is wrong with the appliance, outlet or cord.image002

  • Overheating
  • Missing parts
  • Loose fittings
  • Smell of burning
  • Damaged exterior
  • Worn out appearance
  • Defective appliance controls

During renovation, if you observe any of these signs, stop using the appliance, outlet, cord or fixture. Instead of getting down and fixing it yourself, it’s better to call a professional who has the required qualifications. Discontinue use if you suspect something is wrong. Practice caution and safeguard yourself and your loved ones.

The following tips have been devised to help you and your loved ones gain a better understanding of electricity handling.

General Safety Guidelines

  • Don’t use any tools when appliances are still plugged in.
  • When changing light fixtures after renovation, make sure that the current is turned off.
  • If a CLF bulb breaks, open the windows for ventilation. Before cleaning the mess, leave the room for at least 15 minutes.
  • If you smell something burning or see smoke coming out of an appliance, cord or outlet, shut off the main circuit and immediately call a qualified professional.
  • Always use bulbs that fulfill the wattage requirement of the fixture. Mismatched bulbs can cause the fixture to overheat and eventually cause a breakdown.

Handle appliances with care

  • Electrical safety starts from the time you decide to buy an appliance. Before purchasing it, make sure it has been approved by MET or any other electrical product safety authority. Avoid buying any appliance that has not received any certification from the concerned authorities.
  • Before using the appliance, carefully read the instructions. Many accidents occur just because people fail to follow the given instructions.
  • This should go without saying, but during renovation, keep away all electrical appliances from water and avoid using them with wet hands.
  • If an appliance stops working, never try to repair it by yourself. Call in a qualified professional to do the job.
  • Appliances that are not in use should be unplugged and stored away safely.
  • Some appliances such as refrigerators, T.Vs and monitors generate heat and should be placed where there’s enough room for air circulation. Avoid covering the appliances with any item that can easily catch fire because of the heat. Also keep these items away from heating vents, radiators and other sources of heat.

image003Beware of the outlets

  • During renovation, ensure that no wiring is hanging loose from the outlets.
  • Don’t put any plugs that don’t match the size of an outlet.
  • Don’t overload an outlet. Use extensions or relocate the cords if necessary.
  • All outlets that are not in use should be covered at all times. Better yet, take out the outlets and replace them with solid cover plates during renovation.
  • Install ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) in areas which are more prone to electrical hazards such as pools, bathrooms and kitchens.

Unplug the cords

  • All cords should be checked regularly for any cracks or breakage.
  • Never pull on the cord when unplugging. Slowly pull out the plug from the outlet.
  • Ensure that all cords are firmly and safely plugged in the appropriate sized outlets.
  • Never use nails or staples to keep cords in place. Tape or twist ties are a better option.
  • Extensive use of extension cords is discouraged. They are not a permanent solution and should be used occasionally.
  • Keep cords cool by placing them in a well ventilated area. Never hide them under rugs or furniture where they’re out of sight. This way, they’ll become a possible trip hazard and you won’t be able to notice any breakage.

Children and safety

Children are inquisitive by nature and since they don’t understand the possible hazards, they tend to get seriously injured. It is up to you to ensure that the house is safe for them.

  • Use childproof caps to cover outlets.
  • Ensure that no loose wires are hanging anywhere in the house.
  • Forbid your children from ever climbing up on electricity poles.
  • First, educate your children. Inform them about what could happen if they play with electricity. Invest time in teaching them basic safety guidelines.
  • Discourage them from playing anywhere near an electronic installation and make sure that the house and immediate vicinity is free from any electrical hazards. Make your home design a danger free zone.

References

http://safety.lovetoknow.com/Electrical_Safety_Tips_at_Home

http://www.eskom.co.za/AboutElectricity/ElectricityTips/Pages/Safety_Around_The_Home.aspx

https://www.safeelectricity.org/information-center/library-of-articles/55-home-safety/293-home-safe-home

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