During the spring and summer months, our homes require more electricity to cool them down. However, homeowners should always be aware of the dangers of electricity. In fact, according to the ESFI, the recent home injury statistics are startling and show homeowners should be aware of electrical tips that help promote home safety..
- A/Cs, fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, and heat pumps were involved in nearly 33,500 home injuries.
- A/Cs (or related equipment) helped caused nearly 7,400 home fires, which caused roughly $200 million in property damage.
As a result of the annual injuries and property damage, the ESFI recommends homeowners contact a qualified, licensed electrician to perform any electrical work in your home, including the installation and services of air conditioning and other cooling equipment.
In the heat of the summer, A/Cs and other cooling equipment works to keep our families and homes comfortable. The risk of damage should not prevent A/Cs from working. Homeowners should simply be mindful of the risks of electricity and take precautions when implementing any electrical tips.
Electrical Safety Checklist
Electrical dangers rise in the summer for a variety of reasons, but are mainly due to more outdoor activities and playing near water. Plus, risks like a blown fuse or faulty wiring are still present, so there is simply additional dangers.
Frank Clark, president of ComEd, shares some electrical tips thoughts and mindset, especially for parents to teach their children about electrical dangers.
“It is important that parents make electrical safety a priority for summer, especially as kids begin a three-month journey of newfound freedom. We encourage parents to sit down with their kids and visit www.comedsafety.com for electric safety lessons taught through fun, interactive games as well as review our safety basics checklist with everyone in their family.”
That safety basics checklist includes:
- Be aware of power lines around you and always assume that wires are “live and dangerous.”
- Never touch an outdoor wire with any part of your body, toys or other objects.
- Do not climb trees that are too close to power lines; even if the tree isn’t touching a line, the extra weight from someone climbing the tree could cause a branch to touch the line, which would be dangerous.
- Fly kites and model airplanes and other toys in large open areas such as a field or a park – safely away from trees and overhead power lines.
- Do not go into an electric substation for any reason – even on a dare. Electric substations contain high-voltage equipment, which can kill you. Also, never attempt to rescue a pet that goes inside. Instead, call your local utility company.
- Do not use electrical devices (such as circuit breakers, fuses, GFCIs, receptacles, plugs and switches) that have been submerged.
An important safety note is remember that electrical equipment is dangerous, so do not try to rescue a family member, friend or pet that has come into contact with an electrical accident. Call 911 immediately.
To help, here are some simple electrical tips to protect you and your family.
Summer Safety Electrical Tips
Simple smarts and common sense are the biggest ways to prevent home injuries. In the summer, that means that water and electricity do not mix. Here are some electrical tips to reinforce summer safety.
In general, never handle electrical items when you are wet, along with keeping electrical toys or appliances away from water.
1. Make sure the electrical connections to your pools and hot tubs are fully grounded.
2. Use water resistant outlet covers on all outdoor receptacles near swimming pools and use GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters) protection for all pool power outlets.
3. When using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or a pressure washer, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for grounding.
4 Never plug in any appliance if you notice that the cord is frayed or damaged in anyway.
5. In the event of an emergency, know where your circuit breakers are and how to safely turn them off.
Additionally, in the spring and summer, we rely on our backyards for fun and entertainment. During these seasons, we spend many weekends barbecuing, enjoying a backyard swim, along with doing yard work, home maintenance, landscaping and other projects outdoors.
Outdoor Electrical Safety Tips
However, regardless of your weekend swimming or planting, always remember that you are surrounded by electricity and that outdoor electrical safety shouldn’t be overlooked. To help, here are some electrical safety precautions to consider when you and your family are in the backyard.
6. The CPSC recommends an annual check of outdoor electrical equipment.
7. Check each outlet has its own weatherproof outlet cover, and keep it closed when not in use.
8. Avoid using corded power tools in wet or damp locations.
9. Only use extension cords that are rated for outdoor use because indoor cords can’t withstand the weather conditions when they’re used outdoors.
10. Watch out for power lines while using a ladder or pole to make sure it won’t come within 10 feet of a power line.
11. Do not climb with tools in your hands, and be sure to wear safety equipment at all times.
12. Do not trim trees in dangerous weather conditions.
13. Do not allow power cord connections to become wet. Outdoors, dangers such as power lines in contact with water can pose electrical hazards. Indoors, submerged outlets or electrical cords may energize the water, a potential lethal trap. Before flipping a switch or plugging in an appliance, have an electrician check the house wiring and appliance to make sure it is safe to use.
Electrical Tips to Swim Safely
For those homeowners that have pools to help keep the summer heat in check, there are other electrical safety considerations. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, electrical hazards in and around swimming pools were to blame for 60 deaths and nearly 50 serious shocks over the past 13 years.
To help, the CPSC, along with the American Red Cross, compiled some electrical safety tips. These tips aim to prevent backyard fires or any other potentially dangerous or life-threatening electrical situations that may occur.
14. Have an electrician inspect the pool, spa or hot tub annually to ensure equipment is in accordance with both the local codes and the National Electrical Code.
15. Ensure all electrical wires and junction boxes need to be at least five feet away from the water.
16. Use battery-operated devices around water instead of cord-connected devices.
17. Have a detailed emergency plan posted around the pool, spa or hot tub area that includes the actions you should take if someone is suffering from an electric shock.
Good electrical safety habits help ensure your family, friends and neighbors are safe to enjoy a little outdoors time. For any questions or concerns about your home, then contact a trusted electrician to review your home and make any suggestions to improve your home electrical standards.