Electricity is a wonderful but powerful resource. We often take it for granted because we plug and unplug stuff all the time. And there are so many thing that run on electricity we get pretty “comfortable” around it. But ask anyone who has had a “near miss” with an electrical mishap and they will tell you they are lucky to be alive.
Every year people get electrocuted or seriously shocked. Getting fried is no fun and is kind of permanent. Getting a serious shock is painful and can leave permanent damage including brain damage - so the only safety advice you will get from us is: “Call a licensed electrician”
Playing with the fuse panel or breaker box is a big no-no. Even just changing the fuse or flipping the breaker must be done with care. Many towns forbid anyone other than the homeowner and a licensed electrician from doing any electrical work on their own dwelling.
Even the familiar wall socket has enough juice to put out your lights.
Other than electrocution the other big thing to watch out for is FIRE. Electrical problems are in the top list of causes of home fires in the United States. So if your electrical system is old, or outdated or lacking some of the basic safety circuits that have been implemented over the years better take care of it.
From 1999-2003, electrical distribution and lighting equipment were involved in an estimated 19,100 reported home structure fires per year. These fires resulted in 140 civilian deaths, 610 civilian injuries and an estimated $349 million in direct property damage per year.
Facts & figures
- Fixed wiring, switches, receptacles and outlets account for the largest share (45%) of fires among major types of electrical distribution equipment, and account for the largest share of civilian fire deaths and injuries.
- Some type of electrical failure is the leading factor contributing to ignition in every group of electrical distribution equipment products except lighting.
- Extension cord fires outnumbered fires beginning with attached or unattached power cords by more than two-to-one
Many older homes do not have adequate service to properly serve the needs of today. As more and more things became electric powered people just naturally added adapter plugs and extension cords and slowly begin to overload the circuit. One of the biggest MISTAKES a home owner can make is to put in a bigger fuse or breaker because the original size fuse ‘keeps blowing” if you are blowing fuses putting in a bigger one only defeats the safety aspect of the fuse. Fuses blow for a reason - and that reason is that that line is drawing tooooooo much current for it’s own good and is going to overheat. That heat can cause the fires you read about. Old wires, faulty connections, decaying insulators, etc, are just some of the things that can cause trouble.
If you use electricity in your bathroom or kitchen or any other damp area or outside you need to have ground fault protection circuits - very inexpensive sockets that simply replace your existing ones with ground fault interruption that helps protect you from getting a shock - but there is a proper way to install them so you don’t have a false sense of security.
So if you need electrical work, advice or a free estimate for current or future work give us a call.
If you want a home or small business safety audit we can help there also.