As a homeowner, you want to do everything possible to keep both your home and your family safe from harm. One of the ways you can do this is to inspect and maintain your electrical system. Read on to learn the areas of your home to check for electrical safety.

Power Strips and Whole-Home Surge Protectors

When wiring in your home experiences a brief jolt of high electrical voltage, it’s referred to as a power surge. This high voltage can create damage to appliances and other devices connected to your wiring. A surge protection device works to absorb the excess voltage so that it doesn’t damage what’s attached to the wiring.

Most people are familiar with power strips that have built-in surge protectors. However, there are also whole home surge protectors that can be installed on your electrical panel box. This type of surge protector will work to protect all the wiring and devices you have plugged into it throughout your home. Instead of needing multiple surge protectors at each outlet, you can install one to cover all your outlets. To provide more protection, it may even be a good idea to invest in both whole-home surge protectors along with power strips that also protect against surges.

Most modern power strips also have built-in surge protectors instead of solely providing power. These protectors help to absorb any excess energy that is sent through the outlet into the power strip. The idea is that this built-in surge protection will keep any of the excess voltage from reaching the devices that you have plugged into the power strip. Power strips can be a lifesaver when it comes to things like your televisions and other expensive electronics.

Keep in mind that power strips that increase the number of outlets in a circuit may increase your risk of overloading and tripping your breaker. You should also avoid plugging one power strip into another to add even more outlets. This can be a fire hazard.

Have Problem Branches Trimmed

It’s important to examine the main power lines coming into your home. These should be free from any branches or other debris that could fall and cause a break. As soon as you notice tree branches hanging over the wires or even close to them, it’s best to call in someone to get them removed before they create an issue. Depending on the location of the trees, your public utility may trim these branches themselves once you notify them.

GFCI Outlets

Ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, outlets are specialized outlets that should be installed in any area in or around your home where water is common. These include the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room, and most modern building codes require GFCI outlets to be installed in areas like those. These outlets are designed to constantly monitor the power that is going to the outlet.

If the power supplied to the outlet varies by as little as .006 amperes, the outlet will automatically disconnect itself from the power supply. This happens extremely quickly to prevent a lethal dose of electricity from reaching anything plugged into the outlet. GFCI outlets help to protect you and your appliances from harmful voltage when power levels fluctuate beyond their normal limit.

Get a Backup Generator

Unfortunately, there’s no telling when the power may go out. Whether it’s from a nasty storm or a car accident that took out a powerline, there are many times you can lose power unexpectedly. A backup generator should always be installed by a licensed electrician because it requires a cutoff to the grid when the generator is connected to your panel. Your generator can not only keep on things like your lights and well pump, but it can keep your heating or cooling system functional until your normal power supply returns.

Get Regular Wiring Inspections

Just like other aspects of your home, like its roof and plumbing system, your home’s electrical system should undergo regular inspections. These are recommended to be done by a licensed electrician every three to five years. During their inspection, your electrician will inspect your meter, electrical panel, outlets, and wiring to ensure that they all function correctly. They will be able to fix any malfunctions and give you an estimated remaining lifespan for your system.

Always Hire a Professional Electrician for Additions

When adding any new construction onto your existing home, there’s likely to be electrical work that needs to be done. While there are many DIY videos and general contractors that can offer a ‘cheaper alternative’, it’s always best to invest your money in a licensed electrician. This will ensure that the job gets done up to code and there are no safety hazards present, not to mention it’ll keep you safe during the job as well.

Always Use the Specified Wattage

When it comes time to replace blown-out lights in your home, it can be easy to just grab the first lightbulb you find. Just because a lightbulb fits in the socket doesn’t mean it’s the right wattage. Each fixture will come with its own recommended lightbulb wattage. You should never install a lightbulb that exceeds this number because it could lead to overheating of the socket, which can be a real electrical hazard.

Check Your Appliance Cords Regularly

All the cords on your appliances, ranging from your television down to lamps, have a specialized coating on them. This protects you from any potential electrical shock that would happen if you came into contact with the bare wire. Over time, it’s not uncommon for cords to experience bending and other harsh situations that can end up exposing some of the wires. It’s a good idea to check the wires on all of your appliances every year. If you notice any section of bare wire, unplug the appliance and replace it.

Call an Electrician When You First Notice Problems

One of the best ways to be proactive and protect your home from electrical hazards is to contact your chosen electrician whenever you notice that something is amiss. Some common things you may experience are flickering lights, circuit breakers that constantly trip, outlets that are hot to the touch, and an appliance that gives you an electrical shock. All of these are indications of a bigger problem that could result in a major electrical hazard for your home.

Invest in Smart Plugs

Smart technology can be a great way to help protect your home from electrical hazards. Smart outlets will connect wirelessly with your smartphone to feed you data about your electrical usage. Even better, these smart outlets will automatically kill the power to your plugged-in devices whenever overheating is detected. You can rest assured that your home will be safe even if you’re not there to physically unplug items or turn off circuit breakers.

Only Use One-Heat Producing Appliance Per Outlet

Heat-producing appliances can pull a lot of power from an electrical outlet. Plugging in multiple heat-producing appliances all at once can end up overloading the outlet and leading to an electrical fire. It’s best to stick to one heat-producing appliance per outlet to keep your home safe. Examples of heat-producing appliances are space heaters, hair dryers, irons and coffee makers.

Let the Professionals Help

Potts Electric offers top-quality whole home surge protection installation services in the Ellisville, MO area. We can also assist with all of your EV charging, generator, smart home, new construction, wiring, electrical panel, and commercial needs. Contact our staff today, and we’ll get you on the schedule to see one of our highly experienced electricians.

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