11 Shocking Electrical Safety Tips

Thursday May 11, 2017

Electrical Fire Prevention:
Be Prepared. Stay safe.

Sparks fly, a couch or table burns and the rest of us get some critical lessons in
    dealing with circuit breakers and electrical fires.

    Identifying the issue and seriousness of it is critical in preventing electrical
    fires. Be prepared and stay safe.


    1.    Listen to your breaker.

A breaker that trips immediately after it is reset is telling you that there's an electrical problem. Sure, sometimes the breaker itself is to blame, and in some cases there may just be too large an electrical load operating on that circuit. But it's more likely that the breaker is tripping because there's a severe electrical problem. Keep pressing that breaker and you're likely to cause a fire.

    2.    Know when to fight and when to flee.

Firefighters recommend that if you have any doubt about fighting a fire, your best bet is to get out of the house as quickly as possible. Once you're safely outside, call the fire department. 

    3.     Never throw water on an electrical fire.

This will be obvious to many readers, but in the heat of the moment, grabbing a bucket of water can seem tempting, however this is unreasonable. Water conducts electricity (this is why you don't want to be in a lake during a lightning storm), so throwing water on the fire could cause it to get larger. Instead, use your chemical fire extinguisher.

    4.     Use your fire extinguisher effectively.

Firefighters recommend the time-honored PASS method:

     Pull the fire extinguisher's safety pin.
     Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire.

     Squeeze the extinguisher's handle.
     Sweep the extinguisher's nozzle in a side-to-side motion until the flames are out.

    5.     Watch for lights that flicker or that trip the circuit breaker.

A cause can be a loose wiring splice or a light fixture that's worn out and needs to be replaced. Cut power to the fixture and investigate the supply wiring and the fixture itself. Replace wire connectors with new professional-grade types. Call us to replace the fixture if suspect.

    6.     Identify outlets with a faceplate that's warm to the touch.

This can mean an overly large electrical load is operating on that outlet, or undersized wiring, or a loose electrical splice. Evaluate wattage of device as it may be too large relative to supply wiring. Move device to another circuit, preferably one served by a 20-amp circuit breaker and 12-gauge wire. If this condition persists, contact Chapple Electric to repair.

     7.     Look for extension cords wrapped in electrical tape or with loose ends.

Wear and tear has taken its toll on the cord and needs to be replaced.

     8.     Identify wobbly switches or outlet receptacles.

 Device is improperly mounted to the electrical box or the box itself has come loose from the stud.

    9.     Watch for ceiling fans that slowly wobble.

Fan is out of balance or may be installed on a box that's not listed for supporting a fan. Balance fan or call us to reinstall fan-we will check for loose, damaged or missing hardware. If necessary, we will replace box or install a new fan.

    10.   Identify GFCI outlets that trip repeatedly.

This may indicate a ground fault or a worn-out GFCI outlet receptacle. Move appliance or tool to another GFCI and test. If GFCI trips, appliance or tool is suspect. If GFCI does not trip, electrical problems are likely and you should contact Chapple Electric.

    11.   Listen to that appliance that occasionally gives you a small shock.

Many will have a tiny leakage current because of worn-out insulation on its internal wiring.  You need to replace it with a new energy-conserving model.



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