A recent blog post here on ActiveRain by Paula McDonald http://actvra.in/zTj brings up the importance about electrical work being done by skilled professionals only. As a home inspector I see sub-par electrical on a regular basis. In February I posted some electrical safety tips http://actvra.in/y4x but May is National Electrical Safety Month so let’s talk about electrical safety. Approximately 450 people die each year due to electrical fires and thousands are injured.
If installed and maintained properly an electrical system should last a lifetime. Things like overloading, damage, and safety upgrades are compelling factor for electrical upgrade.
When using electricity you should use caution. Always make sure your wiring and over current devices (fuses or breakers) are in good working order and properly sized. Circuits that flicker, trip often, or show any other sign of problems should be addresses immediately by an Electrician. Electrical devices and appliances that have damaged parts or damaged cords should be replaced. Use extension cords and multi-outlet devices temporarily and never as permanent wiring. Outlets in kitchens, baths, garages, laundry, outside, and other areas near moisture should be GFCI protected.
· Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
· Hire an InterNACHI inspector. InterNACHI inspectors must pass rigorous safety training and are knowledgeable in the ways to reduce the likelihood of electrocution.
· Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old and damaged appliance cords immediately.
· Use electrical extension cords wisely and don't overload them.
· Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.
· Don't allow children to play with or around electrical appliances, such as space heaters, irons and hair dryers.
· Keep clothes, curtains and other potentially combustible items at least 3 feet from all heaters.
· If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
· Never overload extension cords or wall sockets. Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch, as well as lights that flicker. Use safety closures to childproof electrical outlets.
· Check your electrical tools regularly for signs of wear. If the cords are frayed or cracked, replace them. Replace any tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke or sparks.
For more details read Electrical Safety - Int'l Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) http://www.nachi.org/electric.htm#ixzz1uPtIumKu
A regular Home Inspection can help find electrical problems. Only hire licensed and qualified professionals to maintain or alter your electrical system.
An informational flier from the National Fire Protection Association about electrical safety can be printed here. http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files//PDF/Electric/Electrical_Fire_Facts.pdf