Electrical Safety Tips

Call in The Troubleshooter!

Unplug appliances before cleaning them

If an appliance repeatly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker, or if it has given you a shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.

During storms, unplug computers, answering machines, VCRs, and other sensitive equipment.

GFCIs can help prevent electrocution. They should be used in any area where water and electricity may come into contact. When a GFCI senses current leakage in an electrical circuit, it assumes a ground fault has occurred. It then interrupts power fast enough to help prevent serious injury from electrical shock. Test GFCIs regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions to make sure they are working properly.

Don´t overload outlets and extension cords.

Your computer and microwave should not be on the same 120-volt branch circuit as your refrigerator or air conditioner. When these big appliances turn on and off, they can cause voltage dips and surges. Check with a qualified electrician at Cascade Electric if you´re not sure.

Check the wattage of all bulbs in light fixtures to make sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended; if you Don't know the correct wattage, check with the manufacturer of the fixture. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely; loose bulbs may overheat.

Halogen floor lamps operate at much higher temperatures than a standard incandescent light bulb. Never place a halogen floor lamp where it could come in contact with draperies, clothing or other combustible materials. Be sure to turn the lamp off whenever you leave the room for an extended period of time and never use torchiere lamps in children's bedrooms or playrooms.

Unplug appliances before cleaning them.

Surge suppressors minimize the harmful effects of voltage surges. A good suppressor has the following features:

  • UL 1449 seal which indicates that the product meets minimum safety and effectiveness standards.
  • Clamping Voltage. In most cases, the lowest clamping voltage (the voltage level when the suppressor begins working) is best.
  • LED indicator. This lights up to indicate whether the protector is actively blocking a surge.

Never run away from a downed power line. Keep both feet on the ground and shuffle away from the downed line to avoid getting shocked.

Don't overload outlets and extension cords.

Make sure cords are in good conditions - not frayed or cracked. Make sure they are placed out of traffic areas. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to the wall, baseboard, or to another object. Do not place cords under carpets or rugs or rest any furniture on them.

Keep appliances such as radios, TVs, and hair dryers away from sinks and bathtubs.

Train children not to put things into electrical outlets. Plastic outlet guards are a good idea, especially for homes with small children.

Make sure your plugs fit your outlets. Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong fit a two-conductor outlet; this could lead to an electrical shock. NEVER FORCE A PLUG INTO AN OUTLET IF IT DOESN'T FIT. Plugs should fit securely into outlets. Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances.

Never plug in or unplug an electric cord while your hands are wet.

Electric-powered mowers and other tools should not be used in the rain, on wet grass or in wet conditions. Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before each use for frayed power cords, broken plugs, and cracked or broken housings. If damaged, stop using it immediately. Repair it or replace it. Always use an extension cord marked for outdoor use and rated for the power needs of your tools. Remember to unplug all portable power tools when not in use. Since metal ladders conduct electricity, watch out for overhead wires and power lines.

Don&#180t yank the cord when unplugging appliances.

Power fluctuations resulting from a number of causes— from storms to vehicles hitting utility poles—can affect computers, fax machines, appliances, and other electronic equipment. Do what you can to protect your investment. Such as looking for appliances with built-in backup. More and more manufacturers are providing back-up power features in their products. Buy equipment already protected from potential power problems.

There are specialty surge suppressors for TVs and VCRs, as well as for telephone-connected machines such as faxes, computer modems, and answering machines.

If you see a downed power line, call the electric company. Don't touch the line and warn others away.

An Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) takes care of both electrical surges and dips that may cause momentary power failures. It can be valuable for computers with important data files.

Train children not to put things into electrical outlets—plastic outlet guards are a wise choice in homes with small children.

Circuit Breakers and fuses should be the correct size current rating for their circuit. If you do not know the correct size, have an electrician identify and label the size to be used. Always replace a fuse with the same size fuse.

Check to see that the equipment is in good condition and working properly; look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs, and connectors. Use a surge protector bearing the seal of a nationally recognized certification agency.

Space Heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Keep space heaters at least 3 ft. away from any combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture, and rugs. Don't use in rooms where children are unsupervised and remember to turn off and unplug when not in use.

Keep ladders, TV antennas, and tree branches away from power lines.If any part of a tree touches electric lines, call professional trimming services.

If you see a downed power line, call the electric company. Don´t touch the line and warn others away.

Don't use any appliance while you're touching metal or anything wet. Never plug in or unplug an electric cord while your hands are wet.

During an electrical storm, do not use appliances (i.e., hairdryers, toasters, and radios) or telephones (except in an emergency); do not take a bath or shower; keep batteries on hand for flashlights and radios in case of a power outage: and use surge protectors on electronic devices and appliances.

Don't yank the cord when unplugging appliances.

Don't leave plugged in appliances where they might fall in contact with water. If a plugged-in appliance falls into water, NEVER reach in to pull it out - even if it's turned off. First turn off the power source at the panelboard and then unplug the appliance. If you have an appliance that has gotten wet, Don't use it until it has been checked by a qualified repair person.

Your computer and microwave should not be on the same 120-volt branch circuit as your refrigerator or air conditioner. When these big appliances turn on and off, they can cause voltage dips and surges. Check with a qualified electrician if in doubt.

Keep appliances away from sinks and bathtubs—radios, TVs, hair dryers, etc.

Check to see that cords are not overloaded. Additionally, extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis; they are not intended as permanent household wiring. Make sure extension cords have safety closures to help prevent young children from shock hazards and mouth burn injuries.

If you see someone touching a downed power line, do not try to rescue them. You could become a victim yourself. Instead, call 911 for help.

No one should come within 10 feet of an overhead power line unless they've been trained to work around power lines and have appropriate protective equipment.

If a power line falls on your car while you are in it, remain where you are and wait for help. If you must get out of your car because of hazards, jump away so that your body clears the car before touching the ground.

Call a professional to repair any appliance that sparks, smokes, or shocks you.