Practical Tips for Electrical Safety at Home
Electrical failures or malfunctions are a leading cause of fires in the U.S. annually. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that about 47,700 house fires in the country are caused by residential electrical hazards annually. It is no wonder that homeowners must know and understand their homes’ electrical systems and how to protect themselves from the inherent dangers that these systems carry to lower their risks of deadly fires or electrocutions.
Get to Know Important Electrical Safety Devices in Your Home
Modern homes are dependent on electricity now more than ever. It is then essential for homes to protect themselves from electrical hazards such as fires or electrocution through the use of electrical safety devices such as fuses, circuit breakers, and ground fault circuit interrupters.
Both fuses and circuit breakers connect each home to the electrical grid, with the fuse capable of protecting an electric circuit from passing more electric current than it is capable of handling. It allows the current to pass through the circuit up to a specific maximum value, and once that value is breached, the fuse opens and cuts off the circuit.
Circuit breakers are similar to fuses in that they also protect circuits from carrying too much electrical current. The difference between the two is that circuit breaker are not destroyed when activated like fuses are, allowing them to last longer. While circuit breakers are more expensive to install than fuses, their longer lifespan more than makes up for the cost.
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are the outlets usually found in bathrooms, kitchens, or anywhere where water may come in contact with an electric circuit and are designed to prevent electrocution by detecting even the slightest mismatch in incoming and outgoing currents.
Watch Out for These Signs of an Overloaded Circuit
Because overloaded circuits are one of the major causes of residential fires, homeowners need to be aware of warning signs that could indicate that their circuits are on the brink of overloading. Knowing and understanding these signs can help homeowners address these problems and prevent electrical fires:
- Lights that flicker, blink, or dim when appliances or devices are plugged in
- Circuit breakers that often trip or fuses that frequently blow
- Wall plates that are warm or discolored
- Outlets that seem to crackle, sizzle, or buzz
- Burning smell, especially the smell of wood or plastic burning coming from wall outlets or switches
Protection From Power Surges
A power surge or a power spike is a phenomenon that occurs when a sudden increase in power goes through a home’s electrical system, leading to a system overload. Two kinds of power surges have the potential to cause damage to a home’s electronic devices. Both an internal power surge, which happens when a power-greedy appliance turns on and requires a significant amount of energy immediately, and an external power surge, usually caused by the aftermath of a power outage, can damage a home’s electrical system.
A home surge protector should be installed to protect from these devastating power surges. Surge protectors prevent damage to a home’s connected devices by detecting excess voltage and then diverting this into a grounding wire. Plug-in surge protectors are available to protect individual devices. Another option is to install a whole-house surge protector, which diverts surges as they make their way into the home. The latter is a good option for those who want to protect the whole building and all the electrical appliances inside, not just individual devices.
About Gillece Services
Gillece Services is a reliable electrical solutions provider that has been serving the Pittsburgh community for over 40 years. Their trustworthy team of background-checked technicians uses the latest technology and the most reliable brands to provide timely electrical solutions. They offer quick and easy financing options and a standard rate no matter the day of the week. Call them today for electrical and whole-house surge protection services in Pittsburgh, PA.