Basic Electrical Safety Tips
One of the first steps in protecting you home from potential electrical problems is to understand what is involved in your home’s electrical system. Here are some other steps that a homeowner can take to help ensure the safety of their homes and families.
1. Be aware of where you are using extension cords and use them properly. For example, never cover up an extension cord with floor coverings, furniture or window treatments. The reason for this is that extension cords are rated for open air use. Also, just because an extension cord has six or more receptacle doesn’t mean that every one needs to be filled. Extension cords are rated for a specific number of watts. This means that all the items together should not exceed the wattage rating for the extension cord. Please, use extension cords with care and for a temporary length of time. They are not meant to be a permanent solution for wiring.
2. Be familiar with the fixtures used in your home and only put bulbs in them that have the proper wattage rating that is recommended by the manufacturer. If you put a bulb in a fixture that exceeds the wattage recommendation then the fixture’s wiring can burn up, causing a fire hazard.
3. Some indicators of minor electrical problems are flickering lights, outlets that work sporadically, circuit breakers that frequently trip, loose wall outlets and bulbs that frequently blow out. If these problems are not rectified quickly they can lead to much larger problems. They may also be indicators that there is a more serious electrical issue present such as poor grounding or wiring that was installed improperly.
4. Other things to be alert for are heat coming from electrical components, the smell of burning rubber or plastic, the sound of humming or sizzling coming from electrical components. These signs are additional indicators that something has gone wrong with your electrical wiring.
5. Be sure that you know the location of the breaker panel as well as the main shut-off to your electrical system for your home. The control panel should be well labeled and identify each circuit for each circuit breaker. The main shut-off may be located outside at the meter. If something is amiss with the system, everything can be shut down here. Panels need to be accessible.
Knowing the basics is all you need to be better equipped to keep your home wired and working well.
Tips for Choosing an Electrical Contractor
Here are some things to consider when making a decision about a prospective electrical contractor.
- Verify the company is a legitimately registered company with the state.
- Verify that the contractor is properly licensed. Electrical contractors must have a license in order to obtain the permits needed for projects.
- Verify that the contractor is properly insured.
- Ask for a list of references. Be sure to contact each reference to find out the level of satisfaction they had with the work performed.
Questions to Consider When Choosing an Electrical Contractor
- Will they listen to the things you want to incorporate in your project and try to abide by them?
- Will they comply with national, state and local codes?
- Can they provide you with a list of professional references?
- Do they have continuous training for their technicians?
- Will they give you a guarantee in writing?
- Does the contractor have enough insurance to cover your losses in case something should go wrong?
- Does the contractor drug test and screen its employees?
Making the Right Choice
Making a choice is not easy, but if you find that one contractor meets your requirements, than you should trust your judgment. If you feel comfortable, but still have doubts, then choose the one you feel most comfortable with.