Families should practice electrical safety year-round. Because May is National Electrical Safety Month, however, it’s a good time to pay special attention to cleaning up electrical hazards around the home.
Here’s how to start:
- Call a licensed electrician to inspect your home’s wiring. Wiring wears out just like everything else in the home, and when it does, it can pose a fire hazard.
- Unplug appliances that you keep near water—like the hairdryer and curling iron on the bathroom sink. Find another outlet where it’s safer to use them. And unplug them when you’re not using them.
- Replace lightbulbs in lamps and overhead fixtures whose wattage does not match the manufacturer’s recommended wattage. If a lightbulb’s wattage is higher than the lamp was designed to handle, it can overtax the lamp’s wiring and cause a fire.
- Unclutter power strips. Just because your power strip has room for eight plugs doesn’t mean the outlet you plug it into can handle that high of a load. High-voltage devices, like hair dryers, toaster ovens and electric irons shouldn’t go into the same power strip.
- Put away extension cords. They are not designed for constant use. Use them only temporarily, like at Christmastime when you need a long cord for your tree, and then pack them up once the holidays are over.