Every year in May, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) commemorates National Electrical Safety Month by conducting an educational campaign designed to reduce the number of electrical accidents that result in injury, death, and property loss. As part of the campaign, ESFI puts out resources to educate and increase awareness about issues related to electrical safety. This year’s resources cover multiple topics from electric shock drowning (ESD) to changes in the National Electrical Code, but we wanted to highlight a few of the topics that are most relevant to our customers in Genesee County.
Childproofing Your Home to Prevent Electrical Shock
When you think of childproofing your home, you probably think of the plastic outlet caps that you can buy at hardware stores, or in stores that sell baby supplies. While these may give you the peace of mind that you have made your home safer for its littlest occupants, a recent study by Temple University found that 100% of the 2-4 year olds studied were able to remove those plastic outlet caps in 10 seconds or less! So what’s the solution to protecting curious toddlers from electric shock? The answer is tamper-resistant receptacles.
Tamper-resistant receptacles are a permanent childproofing solution with built-in shutters to prevent objects from being inserted into an outlet. All new homes and home remodels are required to install tamper-resistant receptacles throughout the home, with the exception of outlets located more than 5 ½ feet above the floor, or outlets that are dedicated to an appliance that cannot be easily moved (like a range or refrigerator).
Tamper-resistant receptacles are also required in new and renovated childcare facilities, medical offices, hotels, and other businesses frequented by children. If you have young children in your home or business and want to make it a safer place, consider having one of our Genesee County electricians replace your outlets with tamper-resistant receptacles. They are a much safer alternative to the plastic outlet caps and could save a child from serious injury.
Preventing Electrocution with GFCIs
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters are another important electrical safety feature that should be in every home. These types of outlets should be used outdoors and in rooms where water is present, like kitchens, bathrooms, or laundry rooms. If you already have GFCIs in your home, you can test if they are working properly by following these simple steps:
- Push the “Reset” button on the GFCI
- Plug in a nightlight (it should be ON)
- Press the “Test” button (the light should turn OFF)
- Press the “Reset” button again (the light should turn back on)
If the light doesn’t turn on or off as it should, you may have a faulty GFCI. You should contact a professional Genesee County Electrician to inspect the outlet and replace it if necessary.
Surge Protection to Keep Your Genesee County Home and Office Safe
According to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, 60-80% of electrical surges originate inside a home or business (as opposed to being initiated by electric utilities or a lightning strike). A power surge is a sudden (and unwanted) increase in voltage that often damages or destroys valuable electronic equipment.
You can protect your electronic equipment in two different ways: with point-of-use surge protection or whole-home surge protection. Point-of-use surge protectors are devices you can buy in any hardware store. You simply plug them into your outlet and then plug your electronic devices into the surge protector. They work well, but they only protect those devices that are plugged into them, and they have to be replaced occasionally.
On the other hand, whole-home surge protection provides long-lasting surge protection for your home’s entire electrical system. It is also able to protect against larger power surges than point-of-use surge protectors. Whole-home surge protection must be installed by an electrician, so if it is something you are considering, contact us at Electrician Express.
We want to thank the people at ESFI for the important work they do in the area of electrical safety. Like they do every year, they have shed light on some critical issues. If you have questions about the electrical safety in your home, you can call us at any time to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced electricians.