Keeping Your Home Safe Part 2

CHECK ELECTRICAL OUTLETS AND SWITCHES

Children can suffer serious shock and burn injuries if they insert objects into outlets. If children are present, make sure all unused outlets have safety covers. If not, purchase child safety covers for all unused outlets. Also consider installing Tamper proof outlets.

Improperly operating outlets or switches may indicate that an unsafe wiring condition exists. A loose screw holding a wire, or a worn-out switch can lead to electrical arcing, overheating and fire. If you suspect you have a bad outlet or switch have an electrician perform a safety check.

Unusually warm outlets or switches may indicate an unsafe wiring condition exists such as a loose electrical connection that can start a fire. Are all outlets and switches cool to the touch? Make sure appliances are not overloading the outlet. Stop using the faulty outlet until an electrician checks the problem.

Loose fitting plugs can cause overheating and fires. A loose connection cannot carry much current without getting hot. Do all electrical plugs fit snugly into all the outlets? If not have the outlet replaced immediately.

Do all of your outlets have faceplates covering wiring? Exposed wiring is a shock hazard. Children may stick objects into an electrical outlet that is not covered with a plate, or an adult may accidentally come in contact with exposed wires. Install faceplates – a cheap and easy solution.

A GFCI protected outlet is designed to prevent electrocutions, so it is important to make sure that they are working. They should be installed in kitchens bathrooms and other areas where the risk of electric shock is higher. Consider having GFCIs installed in locations required by the National Electric Code (kitchens, bathrooms, garages, exterior and unfinished basements and near laundry tubs/wet bars/sinks).

Test every GFCI once a month according to manufacturer’s instructions.

If you do not have the instructions follow this procedure:
1) Plug a table lamp/light into the outlet and turn the light on.
2) Press the test button on the GFCI outlet. Did the light go out? If not replace the GFCI.
3) Press the reset button on the GFCI. Did the light come back on? If not, replace the GFCI.

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