Electrical Safety Month: Keep Your Home Safe

May is National Electrical Safety Month. Follow these tips to keep your home and family safe this month and every month.


May is National Electrical Safety Month, which is held every year to raise awareness about the importance of using electricity safely. While the electric service in your home is generally safe and reliable, it can be dangerous if used improperly. Follow these tips to keep your home and family safe.

Partition your power needs

Avoid plugging too many devices into one outlet. If you overload an outlet, it can cause surges that can damage connected devices. The outlet can even overheat and cause a fire. Spread out your power needs using multiple outlets, or plug devices into an advanced power strip, which provides better protection against surges and fires.

Don't get overextended

Despite their name, extension cords aren't mean to be used for an extended period of time — they can overheat and cause a fire. Move plugged-in devices closer to an outlet if possible. Never run extension cords under rugs or furniture. Outside, use only extension cords marked for outdoor use.

Unplug properly

Remember to unplug from the plug, not the cord. The cord is not as strong and pulling on it can lead to frayed wires and broken plugs, which can cause fires. If the plug is hard to access, choose a different outlet or move whatever is in the way.

Keep outlets up to code

If you have two-pronged (non-grounded) outlets or or any that are loose or appear worn, consider replacing them with newer models.

Make sure all outlets near a water source — such as the kitchen and bathrooms — are approved ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). GFCIs will shut off the outlet circuit if it senses an imbalance, protecting you from electric shock. Outdoor outlets should be properly covered and GFCI protected.

Give it the once over

Inspect power tools and other electric devices before plugging them in to make sure they are in good condition and wires are not cracked or frayed. When finished, store powered-devices properly to keep them from being damaged by water or excessive heat.

Contact a qualified electrician if you suspect there may be issues with the wiring or electrical system in your home. Remember, common sense and good safety habits are your best protection against electrical hazards this month and every month.