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Electrical Outlet Safety Tips

Electrical Outlet Safety

April 22, 2022

Worn-out or faulty outlets are one of the most common causes for electrical fires and electrocutions at home. If you inspect all the outlets regularly for damage or deterioration and then repair them, you reduce your risks of a house fire and other accidents.

Ways to Avoid Issues with your Outlets

Do not overload your outlet. With the increasing use of electronics in homes, it can be easy to plug too many devices in. While circuit breakers can usually be trusted to trip the power off, the best way to prevent any issues is to avoid overloading an outlet in the first place. You can do this by plugging major appliances, like the stove and refrigerator, into their own wall outlet, avoid having too many electronics on at the same time, or simply having extra outlets installed to handle the increase of power use. Surge protectors or power strips with multiple outlets should also be used carefully, and more than one should never be plugged into the same outlet.

Update your outlets. The age of your electric system plays a big role in its ability to keep up with your power usage. Outlets wear out and require replacement. Loose outlets may not allow for proper connection and could create a safety hazard. If your home still has the basic two-prong outlets, it is time for an update! Three-prong and Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are designed for extra protection against electrical shocks. GFCI outlets monitor the electricity flow and will shut off if moisture is detected.

Childproofing. Outlet covers are essential if you have little ones at home. Children are naturally curious and can be drawn to insert objects into outlets. Foreign objects in outlets can cause electric shock, power surge, and electric sparks. These can lead to electrical fires and serious injury to your child. Plastic outlet covers are easy to find, inexpensive, and easy for adults to remove when necessary.

Signs of Faulty Outlets

There are various visible signs that there may be issues with your outlets. These include:

  • Sparking

  • Visible burn marks or the smell of smoke emitting from the outlet

  • Hot/warm to the touch

  • Buzzing or popping sounds

  • Plugs are loose when inserted

Even if there are no obvious signs of outlet problems, you may want to consider monitoring them if you have children, or if you live in an older home with original electrical system.

We can help!

Most home fires are preventable if electrical systems are well maintained and updated when needed. Worn-out or faulty outlets are at fault too often. If you need to update your outlets, need extra outlets installed, or simply have questions about the condition of your outlets, Columbia River Electric Maintenance can help. Give us a call at (509) 215-2736 or contact us here.

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