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How to stay safe when dealing with electricity


Electricity is one of the most widely used commodities of the modern age. We use it to power our appliances, our tvs, our cars. While we all use it in one way or another everyday, how many of us are aware of just how dangerous it can be? In a study found on the National Library of Medicine ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448087/ ) it’s reported that 1000 deaths per year occur due to electrical injuries, along with a staggering 30,000 non-fatal shock incidents. In today's post we’ll take a look at some basic safety tips that can help you avoid these incidents.


1. Check any power cords for fraying or damage


While this first tip might seem like a no-brainer, frayed and damaged cords can pose a serious safety risk to you and your family. Plenty of everyday items like appliances and tvs are plugged in and then forgotten about, but age can easily wear down the outer insulation of your cord and expose your house to voltage that can start a fire or cause a shock when you eventually reach back to unplug it. Another thing to watch for is running them under rugs or furniture. By placing a rug over wires you could not only be causing a tripping hazard but you can overheat the cable and cause a short. Meanwhile furniture could drag and rub against the cords causing fraying and breaks.


2. Keep your outlets organized and avoid overcrowding


Another major cause of fire and injury is overcrowded outlets. While it might be tempting to plug in a multi-outlet converter or power strip and get as much out of your outlets as you can, it can also lead to overheating the wiring in the wall. Keep in mind these kinds of devices only add outlets, but the amount of power the outlet can provide remains the same. Another danger is plugging appliances into these devices. Major appliances should never be plugged into power strips or extension cords. Appliances need quite a bit more power to them then your basic alarm clock or phone charger and should be placed on their own receptacle whenever possible. When it comes to heat producing appliances like ovens or dryers, whether gas or electric, they should always have their own outlet.


3. Check the wattages in all light fixtures and appliances


Not all light bulbs are created equally. It’s important to check all your lights and appliances to make sure that the bulbs they're using are the correct wattage. If you were to put in a bulb with too high a wattage for the receptacle you were placing it in, the bulb would overheat and cause the wiring in the wall or appliance to do so as well, potentially causing a fire or damage to the surrounding area. Typically appliances should have the wattage listed on them or in the user manual. Another option to find the proper bulbs is by typing in your appliance’s model number on the internet. If a light fixture doesn't have the wattage listed, it’s best to go with a standard 60-watt bulb or less. For any unmarked ceiling fixtures, it's best to stick with a 25-watt bulb.


4. Keep safety in mind when dealing with your electrical panel


While it’s best not to mess with your electrical panel too much, it’s also unavoidable. The first thing to avoid is clutter. Your electrical panel is the heart of your home’s electricity and if something should happen such as a breaker popping or an electrical cord arcing you want to make sure the path to and around your panel is clear and easy to get to. In that same scenario, it's also incredibly helpful to have all circuits neatly labeled on the inside of the door in black permanent marker.


5. If you suspect a problem in your home, call a professional


In this day and age of YouTube and Google, we're able to find how-to's on a vast amount of subjects, some of which include at-home repairs. While these guides can be fantastic they can also skip steps that could end up causing the need for costly repairs or medical bills. If you suspect you may have a problem with an outlet or a light fixture, we here at Royal Electrical Services want to help ensure you and your family's safety and comfort. Please give us a call at (719) 546-0442 and we can send out one of our professionally trained Electricians to get the job done right!


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