We rely on electricity in our homes to meet our basic needs, but if electricity isn’t used carefully, it can pose a serious risk to you and your family. You need to be aware of the potential electrical hazards in your home and take steps to ensure your safety. Here are some of the electrical hazards you should know about and how to protect yourself.
1. Exposed Wiring
Exposed electrical wires can create a hazardous situation if they come into contact with another object or person. They can also create a fire hazard if overheated or overloaded.
In most cases, exposed wiring occurs due to improper installation or old wiring that has become worn over time. Exposed wires can be dangerous in moist environments such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
Using a waterproof conduit when installing electrical wiring may prevent exposed wiring in vulnerable areas. Inspect your wiring regularly for signs of wear and tear. If you find exposed wiring, have it repaired by a qualified electrician as soon as possible.
2. Faulty Electrical Outlets
Faulty outlets can cause shock or fire if they are not identified and fixed. Some common signs of a faulty electrical outlet may include flickering lights, an outlet that sparks when you plug in an appliance, or a burning smell coming from an outlet. Identifying and repairing faulty electrical outlets quickly is crucial to avoid further damage. To ensure your safety, it is best to call a qualified electrician to assess any malfunctioning electrical outlets in your home or business.
3. Outlets With Reverse Polarity
Sometimes outlets are wired incorrectly, which can cause them to have reverse polarity. This phrase means that the white (neutral) and black (hot) wires are reversed in the outlet. Reverse polarity can be dangerous because it may cause a shock or severe damage to your electrical system. To test for reverse polarity, an electrician will use a voltage tester to detect the potential difference between the two wires. If the tester reads a positive voltage on the white wire and a negative voltage on the black wire, then you have reverse polarity. If this is the case, the electrician will recommend rewiring your outlet.
4. Defective Circuit Breakers
Circuit breakers are an integral part of your electrical system. They help to protect against overloading circuits and can prevent fires from sparking in your home. However, circuit breakers are not immune to malfunctions. If a circuit breaker is faulty or damaged in some way, it can cause circuits to trip, overload, and become a fire hazard.
The easiest way to identify a defective circuit breaker is to check for signs of corrosion or discoloration. Corrosion may occur due to water seeping into the interior of the circuit breaker, which can cause it to trip or malfunction. In addition, routinely check for physical damage indicating a faulty circuit breaker. If the casing is cracked, melted, or has any other visible damage, replace it immediately.
Besides these indications, paying attention to how often your circuit breaker trips can help determine if it is defective. If your circuit breaker trips frequently, contact an electrician for an assessment.
5. Improper Use of Extension Cords
Extension cords are a convenient way to power devices and appliances in areas without an outlet, but use them properly to avoid potential shock or fire hazards. Try to use extension cords only on a temporary basis, and don’t overload them with too many appliances. In addition, use the proper gauge cord for the device you are powering.
Never cover extension cords with carpets or other flammable material because this can create a fire hazard. They should also be kept away from water sources, such as sinks and bathtubs, to minimize the risk of an electric shock. Finally, extension cords should always be unplugged and stored when not in use.
Although electricity is a powerful tool, it can also be dangerous if not used safely. To prevent hazardous situations, schedule a professional inspection of your electrical system to ensure it is functioning properly. We’re proud that our business at Dawson's Electric is a trusted and experienced electrical company providing electrical panel installations, outdoor lighting, surge protection, generators, and electrical repairs in Fuquay-Varina and the surrounding areas. Contact us at Dawson's Electric today to schedule an inspection and protect your home against electrical hazards.