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5 Easy Electricity Safety Tips from Expert Electricians

Protecting yourself from electrical hazards in the home doesn’t always have to be expensive, difficult, or involved. Of course, there’s maintenance work and fixes that will require more investment (and these are important to do!), but there are also simple, everyday ways to make sure we're as safe around household electricity as possible. Here are five easy ways to reduce the risk of electrical shock or damage to our homes, families, and appliances.

Protecting yourself from electrical hazards in the home doesn’t always have to be expensive, difficult, or involved. Of course, there’s maintenance work and fixes that will require more investment (and these are important to do!), but there are also simple, everyday ways to make sure we're as safe around household electricity as possible. Here are five easy ways to reduce the risk of electrical shock or damage to our homes, families, and appliances.

1. If You’re Not Using It, Turn It Off

Not only will turning off appliances and devices you’re not using help keep you safe, but it will also lower your electric bill! Especially if you are going to bed, check around the house to make sure that TVs, gaming systems, and unnecessary lights are turned off. Better yet, if it’s a rarely-used appliance, unplug it entirely until the next time you need to use it. Special situations also warrant unplugging appliances entirely, such as during a storm. Always power down a device or appliance before unplugging it.

2. Use Plugs and Cords Properly

It’s not hard to avoid common safety mistakes with plugs and cords. For example, if you pull plugs out by the cord, start pulling them out by the plug instead. This can prevent hazardous damage to the wires, and takes very little effort. Never cut off the third prong on a device’s plug.

The proper use of cords also involves knowing when it’s time to replace a cord. If an appliance has a frayed or damaged cord, it’s time to replace it. You should also never use damaged extension cords, and only use extension cords graded for the appropriate amount of electricity. Finally, always make sure cords are uncovered (not running beneath rugs or curtains), untangled, and neatly organized.

3. Understand the Hazards of Water and Electricity

You probably know that water and electricity don’t mix. This is because water is conductive, and can create a variety of dangerous hazards in the home. Never handle cords or plugs with wet hands – this goes for bathroom appliances like hairdryers, too. Always dry your hands thoroughly first, and make sure you’re not standing in water.

The outdoors present many hazards involving water and electricity, which is why it’s extra important to take proper safety measures when using electricity outside. Always use outdoor-approved extension cords, cables, and appliances. Today, all your appliances should be grounded (or “earthed”) with a third prong, and this is especially important for outdoor appliances. This should go without saying, but never operate outdoor electronics in the rain!

4. Avoid “Octopus Connections”

This is an extraordinarily common electrical hazard. An “octopus connection” is when you have many devices or appliances plugged in at one place, piggybacking power strips, or generally overtaxing an outlet. Octopus connections are common occurrences behind the TV, which often require power for gaming systems and media players. The danger arises when you have more current than you should running through the wires in a particular place, which varies depending on which household circuit the connections are on.

The solution is to consolidate by plugging in only what you need at a given time, and to use certified, brand-name power strips. Never use cheap, third-party power strips, as these can be high-risk counterfeits with inadequate wiring – a prime suspect for overheating, fires, and more. Using the proper equipment responsibly won’t just protect you and your home, it will also protect your expensive appliances.

5. Learn Simple Electricity Safety for Kids

Obviously, children should never play around power lines or substations. But there are still risks that many parents don’t consider. Flying kites, for example, can be very dangerous around power lines – always make sure children are playing with kites very far away from power lines. Always make sure that if children are climbing trees, never to do so in one that is near a power line. Keep kids safe from outlets by purchasing outlet covers and placing them on any open outlets.

Naturally, this isn’t a comprehensive list, nor is it an exhaustive checklist of things you should be doing to protect yourself from electrical hazards in your home. While more involved action like replacing faulty wiring, updating your circuit breaker, or repairing damaged outlets is critical, every action (no matter how small) we take to protect ourselves from the dangers of electricity adds up.


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