Your home’s electrical system should always be in good shape. It needs to provide power without posing a danger to your family or your property. It also needs to deliver sufficient power for you and your family to live comfortably. There are really only two points where you and your family come into contact with your home’s wiring: switches and outlets. That means that when a switch or outlet is broken, it can cause severe burns or electrical shocks. Here’s what you can do to keep your switches and outlets from malfunctioning.
Protect Switches and Outlets From Damage
Switches and outlets are designed to protect you and your family from the electrical current they’re connected to. (Note that if you have small children or seniors with dementia in the home, you should install childproof outlets.) If they’re cracked or otherwise broken, they’re no longer effective — they may not even function anymore. Prevent them from harm by being extra careful when moving heavy objects like furniture.
Prevent Electrical Overloads to Protect Switches and Outlets
In addition to damage from physical force, switches and outlets can be damaged by electrical overloads. These occur when a circuit gets too much electrical current, and they’re extremely dangerous. In fact, they cause an estimated 47,700 home fires across the country each year. This results in approximately $1.4 billion in property damage – not to mention more than 400 deaths and almost 1,600 injuries.
You can prevent electrical overloads by always plugging major appliances directly into a wall outlet, not a multi-outlet converter or extension cord. Use power strips wisely, since they don’t change the amount of power being received from the outlet.
If you notice any signs of damage to an outlet or switch — warm plates, a burning odor, or a tingling sensation when you touch it — it’s a sign of damage. You’ll need to find out what’s causing the damage and have it fixed right away. Since electrical matters can be extremely hazardous, it’s not advisable to do this yourself. Be smart, and contact your trusted electrician immediately.
Is It Time to Upgrade Your Wiring?
It’s important to understand that if you live in an older home, your wiring system probably isn’t geared to your household’s electricity use. The reason for this is that even as recently as 20 years ago, homes had far fewer appliances and personal electronics than we have today. If you find yourself worrying about using too many extension cords, then you probably don’t have sufficient power outlets for your needs. In this case, it’s a good idea to talk to a licensed electrician about upgrading your home’s wiring system. In addition to ensuring that all your wires are in good shape, this would also involve adding more capacity and power outlets so you and your family can use as many appliances and electronics as you like without having to worry about your wiring.