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Is Your Home Electrically Safe? : 8 Questions to Ask Yourself

Whether you just moved into a new home or you’ve lived in your home for years, you need to make sure your
home’s electricity is safe. An unexpected problem with your electricity could cause a power outage. It could
also cause much greater problems, such as electrocution and electrical fires.

Ask yourself these questions to determine your home’s electrical safety.

1. How Old Are Your Wires?

If your home is more than 40 years old-and the electricity has never been updated-your electrical wires
are probably beginning to wear out. These aged wires could cause serious electrical problems. To prevent
disaster, call an electrician to replace your electrical wires and fuse box.

2. Has Your Electrical Panel Been Checked?

A common electrical problem in some homes is that a circuit is paired with the wrong breakers and fuses.
The breakers and fuses must have the correct rating and size for a given circuit. Have an electrician check
your electrical panel to make sure there are no problems.

3. Do You Have an Emergency Generator?

Remember that electricity does so much more than keep the lights on. It also keeps your refrigerator on to
prevent your food from spoiling, keeps your heater working to keep your family warm, and so much more. If a
storm causes a power outage, you need an alternate source for electrical power.  It’s a good idea to
have an electrician install an emergency generator, which will kick on during a power outage.

4. Do You Have GFIs and AFCIs?

A storm isn’t the only situation that can wreck havoc on your electrical power. Moisture in your
electrical system can cause electrical shock and even electrical fire. To prevent this, install a Ground
Fault Interrupter (GFI) in bathrooms and other high moisture areas. It will detect errors with the current
and shut down the corresponding circuit.

An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) also stops the flow of electricity, but for different reasons.
When it detects leaks from faulty wires, it shuts the electricity off, preventing an electrical fire. The
National Electrical Code requires AFCIs for bedroom outlet circuits.

Ask your electrician whether your home is equipped with adequate GFIs and AFCIs.

5. Are Your Electrical Outlets Safe for Children?

Children often stick fingers and small objects in electrical outlets, which can cause electrocution. If
you have young children, it’s important to protect your electrical outlets. Make sure none of the outlets’
inner wiring is exposed, and place covers over all the electrical outlets within your children’s reach.
Another option is to install receptacles with built-in shutter systems.

6. Are Your Appliances Causing Electrical Problems?

If one of your appliances frequently causes the power to go out when you plug it in, consider replacing
it, or at least getting it repaired. An appliance with a poor electrical connection could cause electrical
shock. In most cases, keeping it just isn’t worth it.

7. Are Your Cords in Good Condition?

Look closely at all your home’s appliances, including your water heater, air conditioner, and heater. Make
sure the cords are not frayed or cracked. If they are, contact an electrician.

8. Do You Have Enough Outlets?

If you have extension cords throughout your home, this is not a safe permanent solution. Extension cords
can break down over time and cause electric shock or fire. If you’re relying too much on extension cords, ask
an electrician to install new outlets.

What do you need to change about your home’s electricity? Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions,
talk to an electrician to update your home’s electricity. Don’t compromise when it comes to safety; make
needed changes right away.