Electrical problems are unpredictable.
A microwave oven could stop working. A wire’s casing splits and the current is wasted into the wall. An electrical outlet is seen with scorch marks after you wake up. The cord on a clothes iron burns and the acrid smell attacks your nostrils. The current spikes and a light goes out.
Sometimes, you just want to take matters into your own hands. It can take as much as a day to set a home appointment with the nearest electrician. And you like the idea of being able to handle the smaller problems without help.
Follow these 12 guidelines, and you can tackle electrical systems, whether they are electrical accessories, appliances, or outlets.
1. Read the Symbols & Text on Your Appliances
Who is the person most concerned with safety for an electrical appliance?
The original equipment manufacturer (OEM). To minimize accidents and potential hazards, they always provide a system of meaning to help the consumer. This can be in the form of a manual, a set of instructions on the packaging, or an embossed set of symbols on the product itself. For example, some refrigerators have their “Do and Do Not” guidelines on the back panel.
2. Check the Plugtops of Older Appliances
As an appliance chugs along the long years, their plugtops could develop grounding issues.
The passage of current through the wire and the plugtop necessarily involves resistance (measured in Ohms, remember?) which can damage the contacts connecting to the top earthing prong. If your appliance only has two working prongs and is not being earthed, that would put you, the user, in the line of current.
3. Don’t Mess With Metal Ladders
Metal and electricity is a hazardous combination and a known one.
Refrain from using a steel or aluminium ladder when working on any high-placed electrical outlet in your home. An electrical surge will ground through you and the ladder; the whole electric current will pass through your body. Plastic, wooden, or fibreglass ladders are preferred.
4. Wet Work is Reckless Work
Yes, you know that water and electricity shouldn’t mix, but it’s easy to overlook clues.
Make a practical layout. Place kitchen appliances at a reasonable distance from sinks and other locations that use water. Also, be sure that residual current circuit breakers (also known as ground fault circuit interrupters) are installed outside the home, in the building’s distribution panels. These can cut power at the outlet when an earth fault is detected i.e. when current is grounded through human tissue.
5. Create Childproof Systems Everywhere
Toddlers and younger children are always vulnerable to electrical systems.
To ensure their safety, cover all the angles.
Install modular electrical switches wherever you can. They have hidden screws which prevent young ones from cutting their fingers on the screwheads, prising the plate apart, and shocking themselves. Get shuttered sockets that stay clamped unless a pin is inserted inside. This mechanism prevents electrocution. Most modular switch manufacturers sell these plates in bulk.
And remember to keep thermal appliances like ovens, hair dryers, and toasters out of reach!
6. Turn the Circuits Off Before Repair
Even the pros prefer working on a dead circuit.
A live wire during repair work on the electrical system can result in accidents. You can switch off the mains before you start work on your circuits. Or you can turn off the miniature circuit breaker (MCB) that operates the sub-circuit of the room you are working in.
7. Detect the Warm Power Outlets
Faulty electrical systems produce more heat than is healthy.
One reason: The wire material gets overworked from an overloaded electrical circuit. Another reason: the piano switch contacts and wiring inside are cracked, unsteady, or unravelling. Check all the outlets in the house once every month by placing your hand on the cover plates in your home. Warm outlets signal danger.
8. Never Lay Wires Under Your Carpet
Don’t push wires under the carpet for aesthetic reasons.
Wires over your floors are a certain tripping hazard. And unsuspecting pets and toddlers can break the wire casing, which would endanger them. As a quick-fix solution, many homeowners push the wires under a rug or carpet. This is bad. Rugs are made of flammable materials like silk, jute, and wool. It’s a fire hazard in the making.
9. Check the Wattage & Amperage, Check it Again
These are numbers on the back of an appliance. So check it before plugging in.
Every lighting socket, appliance, and device has a set wattage that tells consumers what can get connected where. You wouldn’t use 60-watt bulbs in a socket that demands a maximum of 25 watts. Amperage denotes the current able to flow through the outlet safely. A washing machine typically uses between 400-1500 watts an hour and many of them require a minimum of a 16-ampere outlet.
10. Make Room for Air Circulation
Your PC’s central processing unit is a fire hazard if it’s in a closed cabinet.
Most high-powered appliances need to have proper air circulation. For electrical safety, it’s also important to keep flammable objects away from these devices. Think twice about your gas or electric dryer, as these need to be situated at least a foot from the wall to function safely.
11. Clean You Exhaust Fans
Dust is the great equalizer of all things. Even the things that are built to remove it!
An appliance’s exhaust fans can get clogged with dust, lint, and other detritus. This can ruin the appliance’s functionality and lifespan. The next effect in this causal cycle is gas buildup and combustion. This will almost certainly lead to a fire. Cleaning the fan regularly sidesteps the issue.
12. Call a Professional When All Fails
Despite your best efforts, things may not work out.
If your circuits continue to trip, if your lights continue to flicker, if your electrical outlets continue emit burnt odours, don’t try to be the hero of the story. Call a professional, certified electrician.
There could be a sinister, underlying problem within your walls, in the wiring, or even outside the home that needs to be detected by an individual who knows the intricacies of the system.
Precision Electricals is an RCCB and MCB manufacturer that deals with safeguarding electrical systems in residential and commercial spaces. We also deal in other electrical accessories like concealed boxes, gang boxes, and extension boards. Let us know if you have any inquiries about your home’s electrical safety.