May is National Electrical Safety Month. To mark this occasion, we’re providing our readers with a checklist of ideas you can use to help protect your family and property. Whether you reside here in the Austin TX area or somewhere else, these ideas can help you.  Electricity continues to be a safe and reliable form of energy that we use virtually every minute of every to make our lives easier. But it’s easy for us to take electricity for granted, and overlook the fact that it can be dangerous in not used properly. Be sure to check out the blog for another great article, Our Safety Inspections: A Point-By-Point Explanation. Here are some things you can do to better ensure a high level of electrical safety in your home:

Whole House
  • Be sure the light bulbs you are using are the proper wattage for the fixtures they’re used in..
  • Make sure that portable appliances like heaters and dehumidifiers are stable and located at least three feet from walls, drapes and curtains, and other objects.
  • Ensure that all outlets are covered with face plates that fit snugly to walls, and that the outlet itself is secured tightly within the outlet box..
  • Cover unused outlets with plastic safety covers. This is typically done only if children reside in the home, but it’s actually a good practice whether children are normally present or not.
  • Keep electrical cords away from foot traffic areas, and make sure they’re not covered by rugs or furniture.
  • Avoid long term use of extension cords. Instead, you should install additional outlets, or move electrical devices closer to outlets, if possible.
  • Make sure any battery-powered smoke alarms are working properly.
Kitchen Area
  • Keep countertop appliances unplugged when not in use.
  • Make sure appliance cords are not placed where they might come in contact with a heat source like range burners or toasters.
  • Make sure all kitchen outlets are equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). GFCIs monitor the current that flows into circuits and shuts it off when an imbalance is detected.
  • Small appliances should be unplugged when not in use.
  • Never use radios, hair dryers, or other electrical devices in or near the bathtub or shower.
  • Install GFCI outlets in all bathroom outlets.
  • When using an electric blanket or heating pad, avoid drinking water or any other liquid.
  • Do not cover an electric blanket or heating pad when in use.
  • Avoid using electric blankets or heating pads that are damaged. Frequently check these items for cracks or breaks that may indicate damage.
Outdoors, Garages, and Sheds
  • Use only weather protected outdoor outlets, even if they’re located on a covered patio or breezeway. Also make sure they’re GFCI equipped.
  • Make sure power tools are in good condition and wires are not cracked or frayed.
  • Store power tools inside to avoid potential damage from moisture or excessive heat.
  • Never use power tools or other electrical devices in the rain, or near a pond, swimming pool or other wet location.
  • When working outdoors, be sure to only use weather-resistant extension cords that are rated for outdoor use.
  • Before you do any digging, call 811 to have utility lines located and marked, even if you’re 100% certain where underground power lines and other utilities are located.
This checklist is not intended to be all inclusive, nor is it intended to in any way circumvent existing government mandated electric or building codes. If you have specific questions or concerns about electrical issues in your home or business, contact us here or call us at 512-554-6789.