Electrical hazards can be found in nearly any home. While electrical safety is always important, it’s especially crucial in the summer. Faulty wires, lighting, and electrical devices not only present shock hazards, they are also a common culprit in home fires and drownings.
Summer Electrical Safety (Inside)
Here are a few signs that you have an electrical safety problem in the home:
- There is a sulfuric, burning plastic, or rotten egg smell near any of your switches, outlets, or electrical devices. This can indicate a serious electrical fire hazard. Turn off power to the circuit from your breaker box and call a professional electrician right away.
- You are using extension cords as a long-term solution. You should only ever use extension cords for temporary use. If you need permanent power somewhere, call an electrician to install a new outlet and/or circuit.
- There are cords, wires, and electrical devices that show fraying, exposed wires, or other signs of wear and tear.
- There are cords in high traffic areas, underneath rugs, or in any area where it can be pinched or caught.
- There are stapled or puncture wires. Never use a staple gun or any kind of metal to position cords or wires.
- Breakers or fuses repeatedly trip or blow. If any or your breakers continue to trip, contact your local electrician.
- Light bulb wattage exceeds the stated maximum. Make sure you are using the correct light bulb wattage for your light fixtures.
- If any outlets or light switches feel warm to the touch or give off shocks, turn off power to the circuit and contact a licensed electrician.
- Lights are dimming or flickering, AFCI/GFCI outlets aren’t working, or outlets are discolored or warm to the touch. Turn off power to the circuit in question until a licensed electrician has a chance to inspect the problem.
Summer Electrical Safety (Outside)
- Test your arc fault circuit interrupters (learn how to test AFCIs) and ground fault circuit interrupters (learn how to test GFCIs) every 30 days.
- Always hire a qualified electrician for any and all electrical work.
- Extension cords are for temporary use only. If you need additional outlets, contact an electrician.
- Check electrical cords regularly and never use damaged cords or devices.
- Make sure you use the right light bulb, with the correct number of watts.
- If you do use an extension cord outdoors, make sure it is rated for outdoor use. Learn more backyard electrical and extension cord safety tips.
Boating and Marina Safety
Be extra careful when swimming around docks, boats, or a marina. Since boats and docks use electricity, there is a chance that faulty wiring or damaged electrical cords can energize the water. Electric current in the water can lead to muscle paralysis, which can result in electric shock drowning.
- Look for potential shock hazard signs. Make sure there is no visible warning of electrified water.
- Check if your marina and the surrounding boats have properly working ground fault circuit interrupters.
- Learn more about electric shock drownings and how to prevent them.
Additional Summer Safety Tips
Contact an electrician if:
- You are experiencing frequently tripping breakers or blown fuses.
- A warm or tingling sensation when you touch light switches, outlets, or any other electrical appliance.
- Discolored outlets or switches.
- Strange smells near electrical devices, such as sulfur, rotten eggs, or burning plastic/rubber.
- Flickering and dimming lights.
- Sparks from outlets or any electrical device.
We strongly recommend scheduling a professional electrical safety inspection every year to find and periodically looking for electrical hazards around the home.
For holiday, event, and landscape lighting solutions you can trust, contact The Perfect Light to take care of all your outdoor lighting needs, including the proper extension cords. We’ll make sure your lighting setup is both safe and beautiful.