Look for these electrical safety hazards

Look for these electrical safety hazards

Electricity plays many roles in our lives, from powering baby monitors, cell phones and lighting, to running HVAC systems and appliances.
 
No wonder we get so comfortable with its instant availability that when we flip a switch, we expect results.
 
May is National Electrical Safety Month, and here at Rock Energy Cooperative, we think it’s a great time check your home for potential safety hazards.
 
Remember, every electrical device has a purpose and a lifespan. While we can extend their operations with maintenance and care, none are designed to last forever.
 
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
Outdoor outlets or those in potentially damp locations in a kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room often include GFCI features. They are designed to sense abnormal current flows, breaking the circuit to prevent potential electric shocks from devices plugged into the outlets.
 
The average GFCI outlet is designed to last about 10 years, but in areas prone to electrical storms or power surges, they can wear out in five years or less. Check them frequently by pressing the red test button. Contact a licensed electrician to replace any failing GFCI outlets.
 
Damaged Outlets
Unstable electrical outlets or wall switches with signs of heat damage or discoloration can offer early warnings of potential shock or electrical fire hazards. Loose connections can allow electrical current arcing. If you see these warning signs, contact an electrician.
 
Surge Protectors
Power strips with surge protectors can help safeguard expensive equipment like televisions, home entertainment systems, and computer components from power spikes. Voltage spikes are measured in joules, and surge protectors are rated for the number of joules they can effectively absorb. That means if your surge protector is rated at 1,000 joules, it should be replaced when it hits that limit. When the limit is reached, protection stops, and you’re left with a basic power strip.
 
Some surge protectors include indicator lights that flicker to warn you when they’ve stopped working as designed. If your electrical system takes a major hit, or if you don’t remember when you bought your surge protector, replacement may be the best option.
 
Extension Cords
If you use extension cords regularly to connect devices and equipment, you may live in an underwired home. Remember, extension cords are designed for temporary, occasional, or periodic use.
 
If an extension cord gets noticeably warm when in use, it could be undersized. If it shows signs of frayed, cracked, or heat-damaged insulation, it should be replaced. If the grounding prong is missing, crimped, or loose, it will not provide the designed protection. And always make sure that extension cords used in outdoor locations are rated for exterior use.
 
Electricity is essential for modern living, and Rock Energy is committed to providing safe, reliable, and affordable power to our members. We hope you’ll keep these safety tips in mind during Electrical Safety Month and throughout the year.
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