Each May, in honor of National Electrical Safety Month, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) launches their annual initiative to help reduce electrically-related fatalities, injuries and property loss. This year’s theme is “Connected to Safety,” and is aimed at educating consumers on the emerging smart technology that makes a home safe and energy efficient.
Understanding what big energy use items are in your home, how to control your energy spend and what devices protect against electrical fires, accidents and injuries can help you practice electrical safety at home.
Big energy use items
Though there are likely multiple devices and appliances plugged into your home’s electrical system, some use significantly more energy than others.
Air conditioning – uses 17% of the home’s annual energy
Space heating – uses 15% of energy each year
Water heating – uses 14% of total energy annually
Lighting – uses 10% of the home’s energy each year
Steps to make your home more energy efficient
There are a number of ways to help make your home more energy efficient. One way is to use smart devices which can both improve your quality of life and make your home safer.
Instead of incandescent bulbs, use LED lightbulbs which last longer and use from 25-80% less energy than their counterparts
Control your energy spend with a smart plug or power strip to turn off power when devices are not in use
Utilize connected-home automation and smart thermostats to control HVAC and lighting systems while not at home
Consider using energy-efficient space heaters or smart vents to heat only the area you’re in and not waste it on unoccupied rooms
Devices to make your home a safer place
Making your home energy efficient is helpful, but there are also devices that help protect your home from electrical danger that could result in accidents, fires and injuries. Using these important devices could save your home and your life.
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) – breakers and outlets which help prevent fires. An arc fault is a dangerous electrical problem caused by damaged, overheated, or stressed electrical wiring or devices and can occur when older wires become frayed or cracked or when outlets or circuits are overburdened.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) – outlets which are grounded and prevent shock by quickly shutting off power when it detects an electrical danger. They should always be used in areas where water and electricity are in close proximity such as in bathrooms, garages, kitchens, laundry areas and outdoors.
Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs) – outlets that resemble regular receptacles, but they feature built in safety shutters that block foreign objects from being inserted. The shutters remain closed if an object is inserted into one side and will only open if a two-bladed or grounded plug is inserted. TRRs are a fantastic solution to childhood shock injuries caused by tampering with electrical outlets.
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