Many electrical hazards can occur in the home. In this blog post, we will discuss 11 of the deadliest electrical hazards and how to avoid them.
Be sure to share this information with your friends and family so they can stay safe as well and avoid the most dangerous home electrical hazards! For any electrical problems that are beyond changing a lightbulb, hire a qualified electrician that has a good reputation for providing electrical services to audit your home or fix any issues.
Defective electric wires or corroded electrical wires can cause electrical fires.
Have you had a rodent problem? That can increase the likelihood of pierced wire insulation thereby damaging the electrical wiring as well. Be sure to have a professional check your home’s electrical wiring regularly.
Old electrical wiring should be replaced in your home to reduce the chance of an electrical fire. Be sure to hire a professional – electrical wiring is not a DIY project or for an amateur.
Be careful with using high-wattage bulbs as that can cause electrical fires. If a bulb burns out, be sure to replace it immediately. High voltage lightbulbs that get warm can also create a fire if placed near flammable materials, especially a curtain, holiday decorations or clothing.
Keep lightbulbs enclosed and away from all objects and follow the correct wattage and buy the right light bulbs specified, do not use more wattage than directed. In many common home fixtures, 60 watts is the maximum recommended.
Older Halogen bulbs and incadesant bulbs are especially prone to generating heat making them a higher risk.
Electrical outlet near water
This is a common electrical hazard that can occur in the home. Be sure to keep electrical outlets away from water sources, such as the sink, bathtub, or shower. If an electrical outlet is near a water source, be sure to use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrical shocks.
Pouring water on electrical fires
Do NOT pour water on electrical fires. This can make the fire worse and cause electrical shocks. Be sure to turn off the power source before trying to extinguish the fire. If you cannot turn off the power source, be sure to stay away from the area until a professional can help. An electrical fire will require help in the form of a fire extinguisher instead of water or your local fire department.
Covered electrical cords, wires, and extension cord
Be sure to keep electrical cords, wires, and extension cords free of being covered. This will help prevent electrical shocks and fires. If an electrical cord is not covered, be sure to keep it away from water sources and children.
Wires should not be under carpet or rugs – this is a common cause of fires as well.
Wet electrical appliances and appliance safety
Some of the most dangerous electrical hazards come from using common household items if they are wet or you have wet hands.
As water conducts electricity it can greatly increase potential electrical hazards many times over. Some electricial applicanes such as a hair dryer, toaster oven, portable heater use large amounts of voltage.
- Do not use electrical appliances such as a hair dryer when they are wet. This can cause electrical shocks and fires.
- Be sure to dry off electrical appliances before using them.
- Do not stand on a wet floor when using electrical appliances.
- Be sure to unplug electrical appliances when they are not in use.
- Never put metal objects into electrical outlets such as a toaster oven, and especially not with wet hands!
- Avoid washing hands or taking bath or shower during thunderstorms
Young Children and Electricity
Young children are especially vulnerable to electric shock when around electrical outlets, cords and wires, and other electrical hazards so be sure to keep electrical items out of reach of young children.
- Install child safety devices on electrical outlets to help prevent electrical shocks such as plastic socket closures.
- Educate your children about electrical hazards and what they should do if they see an electrical hazard in the home.
Older Adults and Electricity
As we age, our bodies become more conductive to electricity. This means that electrical shocks can be more dangerous and cause more serious injuries. Be sure to keep electrical items out of reach of older adults who may be suffering from mental illness or decline without the supervision of a caretaker.
Educate your older adults about electrical hazards and what they should do if they see an electrical hazard in the home.
Extension cords are one of the most common dangerous home electrical items in the home. Be sure to use extension cords sparingly and only when necessary.
- Be sure to unplug extension cords when they are not in use.
- Check extension cords for damage before using them. Do not use old ones
- Avoid plugging in too many items into one outlet or extension cord
Be sure to spread out the load by using multiple outlets and extension cords. Do not use double adapters or triple adapters as this can also cause electrical fires.
Appliances that use high voltage or high watts such as a air conditioner, microwave, toaster oven, or hair dryer should be used with extension cords, unless they are rated as being suitable. Usually, extension cords that can safety transmit the electricity tend to be wires heavy covering.
Buying poor quality electrical components not up to safety standards
This is one electrical hazard that is often overlooked. Be sure to buy electrical components from reputable companies. Cheap electrical items such as switches, wires and others are most susceptible to power surges, arc faults, and other potential electrical safety hazards.
Low-quality components may not meet safety standards and can cause electrical fires and shocks. Only use electrical componets, wires and surge protectors that are UL listed.
DIY Electrical Work
One of the most dangerous electrical hazards is DIY electrical work. Unless you are a qualified electrician, you should not be doing electrical work in your home.
While changing a lightbulb should be OK, more involved projects such as changing an electrical outlet or wiring should be left to professional electricians. If you are not qualified, you could cause an electrical fire or electric shock to yourself which can be deadly – its not worth saving a little money.