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4 Electrical Hazards Lurking in Your Kitchen

Did you know that up to two-thirds of house fires start in the kitchen? It’s a place we spend a lot of time every day, and it’s full of electrical hazards.

Did you know that up to two-thirds of house fires start in the kitchen? It’s a place we spend a lot of time every day, and it’s full of electrical hazards.

Let’s take a look at some of the top electrical hazards in the kitchen that you should learn to keep yourself, your home, and your family safe.

1. Un-Grounded Appliances Present a Massive Safety Concern

Ever wonder what those special outlets are in the kitchen or bathroom that include a “TEST” and “RESET” button? Those are GFCI (ground-fault interceptor)-protected outlets, and they’re absolutely essential to provide power to anything near wet surfaces. These outlets detect any imbalance in current (i.e. if an appliance were to shock you because of a wet surface), and trip the circuit in a matter of milliseconds. All kitchen appliances should be grounded.

It’s worth it to note that just because an appliance is grounded, that doesn’t mean you should be careless around water. It’s still important to position that appliance away from the sink, and only operate it with dry hands.

2. Run Your Cords Wisely – and Away from Heat Sources

Neatly organizing cords is a tough challenge in any room of the house, but it’s even more important in the kitchen because of the many hot surfaces. Make sure that you run all kitchen cords far away from heat sources. Over time, cords that are too close to a range or toaster oven can accrue damage, increasing your risk of an electrical fire or shock.

3. Minimize Electrical Hazards from the Refrigerator

Aside from cooking appliances, the fridge is a major culprit for electrical hazards and fires. From 2006-2010, there were over 1700 fires from refrigerators and freezers every year in the US, according to the National Fire Protection Association. It’s not uncommon for individuals to ignore important refrigerator maintenance that minimizes these risks, which is why it’s even more important to learn some periodic cleaning tips:

  • Every 3-4 months, unplug the fridge and vacuum the coils (usually located at the bottom of the fridge).
  • Don’t overload the fridge.
  • Ensure your refrigerator has the proper space around it (per manufacturer’s instructions) to ventilate.

4. Don’t Ignore Shocks (Even Tiny Ones!)

If you’ve ever received a shock from any kitchen appliance, it’s time to act. Never ignore this kind of warning sign, as it’s an indicator you’ve got an electrical problem on your hands. If possible, turn off the circuit breakers powering that device, and call an electrician.

The more you know about electrical safety in your home, the more you can make good safety decisions and reduce your risk of injury or worse. If you discover that your kitchen isn’t properly equipped for safety (it doesn’t have enough GFCI-protected outlets, for example), it’s time to call in an electrician to bring your home up to safety standards.

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