May is National Electrical Safety Month
Here are 31 tips (one for each day in May) to help keep you and your family safe.
1) Children should always ask an adult for help when plugging in or removing cords from an outlet.
2) Bulb wattage matters. A lightbulb with wattage that is too high for the light fixture can overheat the fixture, causing a fire hazard.
3) Tamper-resistant receptacles help keep curious little ones safe.
4) Surge protectors can help prevent damage to expensive computers, appliances and other electrical equipment.
5) Big-screen TVs and computer equipment need to breathe. Make sure to leave plenty of space around these items for proper ventilation.
6) Working outdoors? Play it safe and use a wooden or fiberglass ladder, and keep at least 10 feet away from power lines.
7) Never touch anyone or anything that's in contact with a power line - the lines may still be live. Stay a safe distance away and call for help immediately.
8) Smoke detectors in your home should be tested every month to ensure they are working properly.
9) Never place extension cords in high-traffic areas or under carpets where they pose a potential tripping hazard or are exposed to excessive wear.
10) Using a window air-conditioning unit? Make sure the electrical circuit and the outlet are able to handle the load.
11) When you're cooking, set a timer to remind you to check on food that is simmering or in the oven. Always double-check to make sure burners and appliances are turned off when you're done.
12) Make a map showing which fuse or circuit breaker controls each switch, light and outlet in your home.
13) Smoke detectors should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
14) If you're working outdoors in a damp location, inspect all electrical cords and equipment being used, and make sure they are in good condition.
15) Recurring tripped circuit breakers or multiple blown fuses can signify a serious and dangerous electrical problem. Contact a licensed electrician immediately.
16) Traditional lightbulbs generate a great amount of heat, so if you haven't switched to cooler CFLs or LEDs, make sure to place lamps away from flammable items.
17) Flickering or dimming lights could mean bigger problems ahead. Contact a qualified electrician to check your home's wiring.
18) Frayed or damaged extension cords are dangerous and should never be used.
19) A wobbling ceiling fan can wear out the fan's motor. Turn it off and tighten mounting screws to correct the problem.
20) Power strips are great - but if you are relying on them too much, you may need to have a qualified electrician install more outlets in your home.
21) Anytime you see an overhead power line, you should assume the line is energized, even if the wire is down or appears to be insulated.
22) For outdoor work, use lighting and power tools that bear the label of an independent testing laboratory and are made for outdoor use.
23) Flying a kite is great for outdoor fun, but remember always to be mindful of overhead power lines.
24) Never throw water on an electrical fire. Use your chemical fire extinguisher instead.
25) Install lightbulbs with extended lifespans in hard-to-reach locations to limit the number of times you have to climb a ladder to change them.
26) Water and electricity do not mix. Keep electrical devices away from water.
27) Electrical equipment and devices should bear the mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
28) When cooking, remember to keep appliance cords away from hot surfaces like the oven, stove or toaster.
29) DIY project for the home? Always turn off the power to the circuit that you plan to work on by switching off the circuit breaker in the main service panel.
30) Use covers on outdoor power outlets, especially near swimming pools.
31) If using a portable generator, make sure it is properly connected to prevent dangerous backfeeding, and always use appropriately rated extension cords.