Staying Safe at Home
Electricity powers our lives, and we’re plugged in more today than ever before. Despite years of improvements in electrical work, it still remains a potentially dangerous element within our own homes. But luckily, there are things you can do to ensure your family is as safe as possible from electrical risks.
Update Your Electrical Panel
Your electrical panel is essentially the nucleus of your home electrical system. Everything comes together here, so it’s crucial that the panel is updated, not malfunctioning, and safe. After 20-25 years, you should consider replacing your panel. If you can do it sooner, that’s even better. You’ll reap the benefits of advanced technology and be able to adequately address your home’s electrical needs.
Similarly, if it’s not time to replace the whole panel but you’ve recently added additions to your home, bought some electrical-heavy appliances (hot tub, second refrigerator, etc.), consider adding new circuit breakers. This will ensure outlets are not overburdened and will reduce the risk of fire or short-circuiting.
These are some common signs you need to replace your electrical panel:
- Cracking sounds coming from the panel.
- Circuit breakers trip frequently.
- Circuit breakers are rusted.
- Lights don’t stay on or flicker.
- Appliances running at reduced power or capacity.
Switch to Wired Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Hopefully, your home is equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These tools are nothing short of life-saving and are often required to be installed in residential dwellings.
That said, if you are running off of battery-powered carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, consider having them wired to your electrical system. Battery-powered detectors are usually cheap and unreliable. A wired detector ensures the system is always on, then has a battery backup in case of a power outage.
Similarly, make sure to change out the batteries every six months, even if you don’t think they’re empty. The risk of fire isn’t worth the price of a couple of batteries. Replace these detectors every ten years, which is usually the prescribed lifespan. After a decade, they can malfunction and become less reliable.
Add GFCI and AFCI Protection
These acronyms stand for ground-fault circuit interrupter and arc fault circuit interrupter. GFCI outlets will cut off power if it becomes too much for the destination, which helps reduce the risk of an electrical fire.
AFCI breakers perform a similar function, just on the electrical panel. It can discover when too much heat is transferred through a wired connection and stops the flow of electricity. This prevents the heat from starting a fire.
Add a Whole-Home Surge Protector
You may be familiar with single-outlet or power strip surge protectors, which are a useful tool in protecting devices from power surges. But what about appliances and devices that are in use all day (refrigerators, air conditioners, TV, etc.). Ensure all your appliances and devices are protected by installing a whole-home surge protector.
Power surges can come during storms or when there are problems with the electrical grid. If unprotected, outlets and therefore your devices are vulnerable to damage. A power surge can fry an outlet and damage the electrical connection, putting you at fire risk. Likewise, you’ll need to spend extra money to fix or replace your appliances.
Find the Right Electrician
Perhaps the most important way to ensure electrical safety is to hire an electrician you trust. This person or team can be a partner, deploying a wealth of knowledge to provide the best electrical service, which includes safety. A great electrician is qualified in electrical work, but also in what it takes to keep themselves and others safe.
Keeping Your Family Safe
When it comes to electrical safety, Guaranteed Service is a local leader. Our team is here to help protect you and your family from electrical hazards. Call us today at (732) 412-1134 to talk about your safety plan.