The families have experienced a lot of togetherness over the past two years. Adults working from home and kids learning remotely — and people of all ages watching TV and playing video games — mean a lot of electronic devices need to be plugged in or charged.
All of this “may present new electrical safety issues in your home that weren’t there before,” said Electrical Safety Foundation International president Brett Brenner.
According to the ESFI, more than 35,000 residential fires occur each year, resulting in more than 500 deaths, 1,100 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. The organization offers simple steps to prevent your home from becoming an electrical hazard.
- Do not overload outlets.
- Unplug devices that are not in use.
- Regularly inspect electrical cords and extension cords to ensure they are not damaged.
- Use extension cords only temporarily – they are not a permanent solution.
- Make sure cords do not become tripping hazards. Do not place them under rugs, carpets, doors or windows.
- Keep papers and other combustible objects at least 3 feet away from heaters and heat sources.
- Plug heaters or fans directly into a wall outlet – not an extension cord or power strip.
- Make sure the bulbs in your lamps and light fixtures have the correct wattage.
Here are some signs that your home’s electrical system may be overloaded:
- Frequent blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers
- Lights that turn off when other devices are on
- Humming from outlets or switches
- Discoloration at outlets
- Appliances that seem underpowered
If you’ve noticed any of these issues, it’s time to contact a qualified electrician. Calling in the professionals when needed, as well as making small changes and staying observant, will help keep everyone in the family plugged in safely at home.