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Electricity: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Electricity is what powers and drives our homes. It's something we live with and interact with everyday, often without thinking about it. Electricity provides us with comfort, entertainment, and power to countless functions within our homes. However, electricity also has the potential to cause a great deal of harm if systems are not properly installed, misused, or allowed to be overloaded. These failures or abuses can lead to shocks which can be fatal, and electrical fires. There are several things you can do as part of a routine check and maintenance plan to ensure electrical safety in your home.

Appliances should be checked periodically to make sure wires and connections are in good condition. Check for broken parts, cracked insulation, corrosion, and loose terminals. If you receive a shock from an appliance, unplug it immediately and have it inspected and fixed by a professional. If broken parts are found, replace the appliance or have it repaired by a professional who is qualified to do so. Never use electrical appliances or equipment in the tub or shower and avoid outlets and plugs with wet hands.

From a young age, children must be taught electrical safety and the importance of never sticking objects into outlets or chewing on or playing with electric cords. All outlets in the home must have a faceplate. Safety plugs are an easy and inexpensive way to keep toddlers safe around outlets. Don't allow children to climb trees that are near power lines or utility poles and teach them to never approach a downed power line even if it appears to be off.

Outlets should be three holed and grounded. If a water source is nearby such as a sink then there must be a ground-fault circuit interrupter or GFCI outlet. All outlets that are outdoors should be GFCIs. Use extension cords sparingly and never place them under rugs. Ensure an extension cord is correct for the job it is needed for and in good shape. Never force a three-pronged plug into a two-slot outlet or extension cord. If use of an outlet is repeatedly overloading or tripping circuits discontinue use and have it inspected by a qualified professional.

If using electrical heating equipment such as heating blankets or space heaters make sure they are used away from combustible items and are in good working order. Objects, pets, or blankets above a heating blanket can cause overheating.

Other safety concerns can come from outside. When planting trees or shrubs, take into account their mature height and width to ensure they are well away from power lines. Be sure to know where underground power lines are located to keep roots clear of them. Keep ladders, equipment, kites, and anything else away from power lines. Rodents can chew electrical wiring that causes damage and could lead to fire. If you suspect an infestation in your home take action to get rid of them.

If you have questions about your electrical system or need an inspection, reach out to Active Home Inspection Services.

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