You depend on electricity for just about everything, from lighting your home and cooking to charging your electronic devices and even vehicles. However, you probably don’t think too much about its safety or risks until something happens to bring it into focus. Rather than waiting for a mishappening, make electrical safety a part of your spring cleaning routine to keep your home safe.
Inspect Your Outlets
Start by inspecting each of your outlets around your home. Look for cracked face plates or damage to the outlet itself. Any signs of scorching or cracks in the plastic indicate you need to replace both. An electrician should replace any outlets that have signs of scorching to determine what caused the issue. Face plates are simple to replace if they’re cracked.
Next, inspect the wires of the appliances around your home. Be especially mindful of minor cables like those for your phone, tablets or other handheld electronics. These are easily damaged, so keep an eye on them.
While it may not seem like a big deal, even small wires can be hazardous when the insulation is damaged and the wires are exposed. Any wires that have damage to them should be replaced and not just taped. This will help prevent incidental harm to anyone in your home or arcing that could lead to a fire. Before pulling out using power tools or electric lawn tools, double-check the cables on those as well to ensure there aren’t any breaks in the insulation frayed wires.
Check Power Strips and Surge Protectors
While you’re checking your outlets, take a few minutes to check your surge protectors as well. Most surge protectors are good for around three to five years. Some signs that you may need to replace your power strips and surge protectors are if they feel warm to the touch, if it’s cracked, if there are damaged fuses or switches or if it repeatedly turns off on its own.
Also, avoid “daisy-chaining” power strips (plugging multiple strips or extension cords into each other) because you need more outlets. Doing this can overload your circuit and damage your home’s wiring, outlets and even circuit breakers.
Inspect and Clean Electrical Appliances
Most electrical appliances require periodic cleaning to keep them working effectively and to prevent excessive electrical resistance. Plan to deep clean your clothes dryer and to remove lint that may not come up in your lint trap. Clean the built-up grease and grime from your stove’s exhaust hood. If you have any electric heaters you used throughout the winter, give them proper cleanings (according to manufacture instructions) before putting them away for the season.
Check For and Test GFCI Outlets
Check to make sure you have GFCI outlets installed anywhere where there is excessive moisture. This includes all of your outside outlets and those in your bathrooms, kitchen and utility room. When these outlets sense unusual electrical flow, which is common when there’s water present with something plugged into the outlet, they will immediately terminate the electrical flow.
While you’re checking to make sure they’re installed everywhere, plan to test each one as well. First, hit the reset button on the outlet. Next, plug something in that you can easily monitor, such as a small lamp. Press the “Test” button, and the device you plugged in should turn off. As long as it does, press the reset button again, and it should turn back on. If it doesn’t turn off when pressing the Test button, the outlet may have been damaged and needs replacing.
Call 811 Before Digging Outside
Before you start digging for your spring landscaping or other projects, be sure to call 811. Even with shallow planting, you’ll want to make sure there isn’t anything in the way, as roots can damage the utilities lines under your home. The last thing you want is to have an electric shock while working on your garden.
Check Your Breaker Board
Finally, check your breaker board. You may want to have an electrician clean this if you haven’t done so in several years. Cobwebs can build up behind the breaker panel cover, which can cause issues if left long enough.
Also, hold the back of your hand over each breaker, and see if any feel warm to the touch. If they do, this could be a sign the circuit is overloaded, and it may be time to upgrade your panel and your home’s circuit layout.
Many residents in and around Seguin, TX have turned to GVEC Electrician Services to keep their electricity flowing safely for decades. Our team of licensed electricians provide a wide range of electrical services that include electrical upgrades, solar installations, whole home surge protection, and interior and exterior lighting plans and installations. Call 888.590.7773 to schedule your consultation with a friendly member of our team today.