Electrical Safety in the Home

Whether you rent or own your home, Electrical Safety Month (May) is a great time to practice electrical safety. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), there are an estimated 47,000 residential fires caused by an electrical failure or malfunction, resulting in approximately 400 deaths and 1,500 injuries, totaling more than $1.4 billion in property damage each year.

Electrical safety is important. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests practicing these tips:

  • Call a qualified electrician or your landlord first if you notice:
    • Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
    • A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
    • Discolored or warm wall outlets
    • A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
    • Flickering or dimming lights
    • Sparks from an outlet
  • Inspect your home for hidden electrical hazards
  • Check electrical cords
    • Make sure wires are not damaged, cracked or loose
    • Take cords that need to be repaired to a professional repair shop, hire an electrician or replace with a new one
    • Ensure cords aren’t running under doorways or carpets
  • Keep children away from electric cords and outlets
    • Cords placed in the mouth can cause burns
    • Objects placed in an outlet can cause a shock, burns or electrocution
  • Make sure that all receptacle outlets and switches have faceplates
  • Never put more than one plug in each receptacle
    • Outlets may have one or more receptacles and they are designed for one to receive each plug
  • Ensure the bulbs in your lights match what is safe for the lamp
    • There should be a sticker on the lamp that indicates the maximum wattage for the light bulb
  • Protect light bulbs in living areas and closets with a shade or globe for protection
    • Light bulbs can get very hot and cause a fire if something that can burn is too close
  • Install ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)
    • GFCIs reduce the risk of shock by shutting off an electrical circuit when the circuit could be a shock hazard. These should be installed in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, basement, garage and outdoor areas of your home
  • Be mindful of outlets where heat-producing appliances are plugged in
    • Toasters, coffee makers, irons and microwaves draw a lot of electricity and create a lot of heat
    • Only plug one heat-producing appliance in each outlet to prevent wiring from overheating
  • Install arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) in your home
    • AFCIs protect against fire by monitoring the electrical current in a circuit and shutting off the circuit when unintended arcing occurs. These should only be installed by a qualified electrician

AEP Energy cares about you and your electrical safety! If you aren’t sure you have the skill set to complete a DIY project, play it safe, call a professional and leave it to the experts.

AEP Energy does not guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, freedom from error, or value of any information herein. The information presented is provided “as is”, “as available”, and for informational purposes only, speaks only to events or circumstances on or before the date it is presented, and should not be construed as advice, a recommendation, or a guarantee of future results. AEP Energy disclaims any and all liabilities and warranties related hereto, including any obligation to update or correct the information herein. Summaries and website links included herein (collectively, “Links”) are not under AEP Energy’s control and are provided for reference only and not for commercial purposes. AEP Energy does not endorse or approve of the Links or related information and does not provide any warranty of any kind or nature related thereto.

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