by Brett Hadley, master electrician/owner Master Electrical

7291503Did you flip on the light switch when you walked into the bathroom this morning? How about charging your cell phone or plugging in the toaster? Electricity makes life more convenient and fun, but it also has the potential to cause serious harm.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that US fire departments responded to an estimated 46,500 house fires caused by electrical malfunction or failure in 2010; 49 percent of those involved lighting or electrical distribution equipment and another 46 percent were attributed to other known types of equipment (i.e., stoves, washers, dryers, heaters and fans).

Protect your home and family by implementing the following electrical safety tips:

  • Only plug one heat-producing appliance (like a coffee maker, toaster or space heater) into a receptacle outlet a time.
  • Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners) should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet without the use of an extension cord.
  • Consider having arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) installed in your home. These shut off electricity when dangerous conditions arise.
  • Install ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in to reduce the risk of shock. GFCIs shut off electrical circuits when it becomes a shock hazard. They should be installed in all outside receptacles and inside your bathrooms, kitchen, garages and basements.
  • Test AFCIs and GFCIs monthly.
  • Ensure electrical cords are not running across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords should only be for temporary use; have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlet so you don’t have to use extension cords.
  • Use light bulbs that match the wattage.