Electrical Safety Checklist
Electrical dangers rise in the summer for a variety of reasons, but are mainly due to more outdoor activities and playing near water. Plus, risks like a blown fuse or faulty wiring are still present, so there is simply additional dangers.
That safety basics checklist includes:
- Be aware of power lines around you and always assume that wires are “live and dangerous.”
- Never touch an outdoor wire with any part of your body, toys or other objects.
- Do not climb trees that are too close to power lines; even if the tree isn’t touching a line, the extra weight from someone climbing the tree could cause a branch to touch the line, which would be dangerous.
- Fly kites and model airplanes and other toys in large open areas such as a field or a park – safely away from trees and overhead power lines.
- Do not go into an electric substation for any reason – even on a dare. Electric substations contain high-voltage equipment, which can kill you. Also, never attempt to rescue a pet that goes inside. Instead, call your local utility company.
- Do not use electrical devices (such as circuit breakers, fuses, GFCIs, receptacles, plugs and switches) that have been submerged.
An important safety note is remember that electrical equipment is dangerous, so do not try to rescue a family member, friend or pet that has come into contact with an electrical accident. Call 911 immediately.
Reasons to Upgrade Your Circuit Breaker or Service Panel
There are two main reasons to upgrade your service:
Many homes in New England have fuse boxes and electrical panels that are 50 years old or older. This poses a safety issue because many old circuit breakers won’t trip when they are called upon to. This could be a potential fire hazard as heat builds up possibly breaking down components of your wiring and leading to a fire.
Increse your electrical system’s capacity
A new circuit breaker or service panel will give you upgraded electrical capacity throughout your home. SolvIt will make sure this is accomplished safely, up to code and with minimum disruption to your daily routines.
Safety switches work by monitoring the flow of electricity through a circuit and detecting problems as soon as the current leaves the circuit. If a problem is detected a safety switch will shut off the electricity in 0.03 seconds – quick enough to save a life or prevent costly damage.
In Victoria it is mandatory to install safety switches in new premises and premises where major renovations occur. CitiPower and Powercor strongly urge customers to install one of the three safety switches available:
- Switchboard mounted safety switches
Switchboard mounted safety switches provide efficient protection for your entire home. They are installed by registered electricians in the same location as your meters and circuit breakers or fuses.
- Power outlet safety switches
Power outlet safety switches are designed to protect a single circuit in a particular part of your home. For maximum protection, a power outlet safety switch must be installed by a registered electrician on the first power point of each circuit after the switchboard.
- Plug-in safety switches
Plug-in safety switches are portable so they can be used outside or in areas where electricity is not usually used. Farmers often use Plug-in safety switches. They plug directly into a power outlet, providing protection at a power extension and they only protect the appliance plugged into them. Portable safety switches are available from major hardware stores.
How To Protect Yourself From House Fires Caused By Electricity
One way we can prevent electrical fires caused by an electrical arc is with Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI). An AFCI is a circuit breaker that detects potentially dangerous electrical arcs. It disconnects the power as soon as it detects one.
“Faulty wiring is the number one cause of electrical fires. Sometimes fires happen because of poor workmanship. Other times it’s just wear and tear. But you need to know the warning signs.”
Before AFCI’s were introduced the bedroom was where most electrical fires started. But in 2002 it became code to protect all circuits that feed outlets in bedrooms with AFCIs. Now, the kitchen and bathroom are where most electrical fires start.
It’s code to have AFCI’s in the bedroom. But in some states, like Texas, it’s code to have AFCI’s protecting all of the circuits in a home. I’d like to see this in our electrical codes. Why not protect the entire house if we can? It’s a no brainer.
Counterfeit electrical products can also cause electrical fires. But it’s hard to prove it because most fires destroy the evidence – along with everything else. Plus, some counterfeit products are so good the average homeowner would never suspect they aren’t legitimate/CSA approved. The only way to know that it’s counterfeit would be by sending it to a lab to test it out. And how many homeowners do that?
Signs You Need A New Circuit Breaker
Circuit breaker replacement can be an economical investment in protecting your home while avoiding damage to your appliances and fixtures. In addition, you can rest easy knowing that your family will be safe. They are a valuable first line of defense in home safety but are often overlooked as a solution to real problems. Your electrical panel is likely hidden in the basement or in a utility closet, well out of sight and thought. If you ignore the warning signs, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Flickering Lights: How annoying is it when you’re eating dinner with the family and the lights keep raising and lowering like in a haunted house? While distracting, you figure you can live with it. This could be troublesome.
- Poor Performance from Appliances: Your stove may bake unevenly or never seem to reach proper temperature. The dryer might shut off in mid-cycle. You may be convinced that all your kitchen appliances need to be replaced due to strange and inconsistent performance. Instead of purchasing new appliances, you could replace your breaker.
- Damage to Essential Lights and Appliances: When circuit breakers fail to control the electrical currents properly, you may experience bulbs that constantly burn out or a microwave that barely functions. Overheating can occur, causing lasting damage to coils and computer boards.
- Potential of Smoke, Fire and Water Damage: When too much power is drawn through a power cord, an electrical fire can occur. Your home could be severely damaged by smoke, water, and fire. The cost of failing to check your electrical panel for problems continues to skyrocket as does the likely hood of an electrical emergency.
- Lower Property Value: When you experience a fire, no matter how small, the integrity and value of the property is lowered. Failing to upgrade electrical service to your home can result in a potential buyer hesitating to put in an offer.