Electrical outlets are necessary in homes for obvious reasons. What might not be so obvious is the dangers associated with outlets that are damaged, improperly installed or used, or easily accessible to children and pets in your home. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on properly examining and protecting the electrical outlets in your home.
The primary dangers of electrical outlets in the home are twofold. Electrical outlets provide enticing items for children, who have a natural inclination to insert items into the holes. Improperly functioning or installed, or damaged electrical outlets create an unnecessary risk of home electrical fires. In fact, it’s estimated that each year 2,400 children visit emergency rooms nationwide as a result of inserting conductive materials into electrical outlets. And, approximately 5,000 electrical fires are reported yearly as a result of electrical outlet failure. Given these alarming statistics, it’s important to follow some safety precautions and conduct regular inspections with regard to your electrical outlets. As an electrical company in Orlando, it’s our job to inform and educate the public about safety regarding electrical outlets.
Any outlet that appears to be broken doesn’t securely hold a plug sparks or feels hot to the touch should immediately be replaced by a licensed electrician.
When examining your outlets, make sure that each outlet has a faceplate and that the faceplate is free of cracks or other damage and is tightly secured to the wall with the correct number of screws.
Never attempt to force a polarized plug into an un-polarized outlet. On a polarized plug, one of the blades is wider than the other to prevent easily plugging it into an un-polarized outlet.
Any unused electrical outlets should be protected with safety. These covers are necessary to prevent access to the outlet by children or pets and will prevent dust and other debris from entering the outlet, keeping it clean and free from static electricity.
Any outlet in which plugs fit loosely have a danger of overheating and should be immediately replaced by a licensed electrician.
Kitchen, bathroom and most outdoor outlets should be protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs monitor the difference in current flow to and from a device connected to the outlet. In the event the GFCI detects a potential ground fault (a dangerous condition, causing approximately 200 deaths a year in the US), it interrupts the current flow instantly, preventing the condition.
In addition to GFCIs, outdoor outlets should be protected by waterproof covers.
Tamper resistant outlets are now available and should be considered for installation in homes with children present. They prevent the insertion of foreign objects by only allowing the insertion of an electrical plug.
In the event that any of your receptacles appear damaged or don’t meet the recommendations above, consult a licensed electrician for replacement.
In summary, we hope this article provides you with some practical guidelines for your electrical outlet safety and helps protect you, your home and family from unnecessary hazards associated with the use of electrical devices inside and outside the home and we hope you make the right choice for a power service in Orlando.
Spectrum Electric is a top Central Florida provider of all aspects of home electrical safety, wiring and outlet installation. We handle any and all core electrical services, both residential and commercial.