Home Check: Electrical Safety, Room-by-Room
By Len Canter
FRIDAY, Aug. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- You might not think much about it when turning on a light in your home, but faulty wiring and electrical products can lead to fire, injury and even death.
That's why it's important to check for and fix potential problems before they happen.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests taking time to go room-by-room every six months. Start with your light fixtures: Make sure the wattage on the bulbs doesn't exceed the recommended maximum. All electric outlets and their switches should feel cool to the touch -- heat could mean unsafe wiring. Test any outlets equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter every month. Make sure faceplates are in place to avoid shocks. Use childproof plugs on unused outlets if you have young children at home.
Check all electrical cords for signs of damage and replace as needed, and keep them out of the path of foot traffic to avoid tripping. They shouldn't be touching any rugs or furniture. If you use items like an electric blanket or electric heater, make sure they're in good working order and follow safety guidelines. Keep heaters at least 3 feet from anything combustible, like newspapers, and never use one in the bathroom.
In the kitchen and all bathrooms, unplug appliances when you're not using them. Always keep cords away from hot surfaces and all water sources.
Don't forget safety in your basement, garage and any work areas. Make sure that all electrical power tools have 3-prong plugs and state that they're double insulated. At your fuse box, make sure fuses are the right size for the circuit. Test circuit breakers to make sure they're in good working order and haven't become stuck.
Outside the home, check that electrical garden tools and their cords are in good condition and working properly. Don't forget to inspect any pool or spa equipment. Damaged tools can become shock or fire hazards when wiring, the motor or other electrical parts begin to wear out or fail. Damaged cords with exposed wires are shock and fire hazards, especially outdoors when in contact with moisture and the ground. Moisture can get into outside outlets and pose a shock or fire hazard, so make sure that they have weatherproof covers.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has a room-by-room home safety checklist that includes outdoor concerns as well.
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