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6 Ways to Improve Electrical Safety Around the House

Maintaining a good electrical system around the house is important for ensuring that you and other members of your family will be safe from electrical shock and fire. Installing GFCI outlets, a modern circuit breaker box, and making other changes can help you maintain a safe electrical system. Here's what you need to know.

1. Install GFCI Outlets

GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. GFCI outlets function by monitoring the electrical input and output occurring in the outlet. If there's an imbalance between the two sides, then the GFCI outlet shuts down the circuit.

GFCI outlets are designed to prevent people from electrical shock. They're commonly found in parts of the house where water is present, like in the bathroom and in the kitchen.

Older homes may not have GFCI outlets because GFCI is a relatively new invention. If your home doesn't have GFCI outlets in your kitchen, bathroom, or outdoors, have the outlets in those areas replaced by a qualified electrician.

2. Install Covers Over Outdoor Outlets

Another way that people protect their outlets from water is by installing covers on outdoor outlets. Many decades ago, outdoor outlets were installed exposed to the air. Today, outdoor outlets have covers that must be lifted or opened for the outlet to be used. If your home has exposed outdoor outlets, have a cover installed on them retroactively to keep out moisture.

3. Upgrade Your Old Fuse Box

At one time, fuse boxes were standard in all homes. Today, fuse boxes have been replaced with circuit breaker boxes. While there is nothing inherently wrong with a well-built fuse box, many older fuse boxes fail to deliver the proper amount of electricity to sustain a modern household.

If your fuse box fails to deliver adequate electricity to keep your household running, it could be drawing too much power throughout the day. This can lead to an electrical overload.

4. Use Proper Extension Cords Outside

Outdoor extension cords are different from indoor extension cords in many ways. They have more insulation, a larger gauge, and are often rated for higher amperage. Outdoor extension cords also tend to have three prongs for additional protection from electrical fire or shock.

Using an indoor extension cord outside can result in injuries, electrical problems, and even an electrical fire. Whether you're using a power tool outside, or are plugging in holiday lights, use an outdoor extension cord for outdoor uses.

5. Install More Electrical Outlets When Needed

Indoor extension cords are meant to be temporary. When put into permanent use, especially when overloaded with too many cords, extension cords can become a fire hazard. If you find yourself permanently stretching extension cords around your home, this could be a sign that you need to install more electrical outlets.

Never stretch extension cords under the carpet and don't tape them to your floor. If you notice an extension cord getting hot to the touch, this is a sign that the cord is failing. Stop using it immediately. If you decide to install more outlets to reduce your extension cord use, work with an electrician to ensure this is done properly.

6. Work with a Licensed Electrician

If you're a homeowner who would like to improve electrical safety around the house, contact a qualified electrician in your area. Your electrician can inspect the state of your home's circuit breaker box, outlets, and other electrical features. Once an inspection has been performed, your electrician can make recommendations that can help you improve safety.

For more information, contact Street Brothers Electric. We'll be happy to inspect your system, recommend repairs, and answer any questions that you may have.

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