Electrical hazards are dangerous to you and your property. Knowing common electric hazards and how to fix them will keep everything safe and sound.

Not Using Extension Cords Properly

An extension cord can make life easier. However, not using one properly can cause problems.

Be sure to select extension cords with a UL rating. Make sure you use a cord appropriate for what you are plugging into it and where you are using it. For example, if you need a cord for running power tools outside, you want a cord that is made for outdoor use and that can handle the start up amperage of the tools.

Never run an extension cord under a rug or carpet. The cord can become worn and wires may become exposed, increasing the risk of an electrical fire. Never use a cord that has exposed wires. Throw it away and buy a new one.

If you are in constant need of an extension cord in one spot, have an electrical contractor install additional outlets.

Using the Wrong Wattage Bulbs

Lamps and light fixtures are built to accommodate light bulbs up to a certain wattage. If you use a light bulb with a higher wattage, it can overload the lamp’s wiring. This poses the potential of an electrical fire. Always use bulbs of the recommended wattage or below.

The good news is that modern LED bulbs use considerably less wattage than the old-style incandescent bulbs. With these modern bulbs, you can get brighter light without the hazard of overloading the fixture’s wiring.

Outdated Wiring

Homes more than 30 years old could have outdated wiring, which can become a major electrical hazard. It is important to have dated wiring inspected by an electrical contractor. He may recommend making some changes to lower the hazard risk.

If your home dates back to the early part of the 1900s, you could still have knob and tube wiring somewhere in your home. This should be removed and replaced as soon as possible.

If your home was built before the mid-1970s, you could have aluminum wiring, which is another hazardous form of wiring. As aluminum wire ages, it can become soft, brittle and covered in oxidation. This degradation poses a high level of risk for fire. All aluminum wiring should be removed and replaced.

Overloaded Circuit

The electrical circuits in your home are designed to carry a certain amount of amperage. When you have too many high-amperage devices on a single circuit, you could end up with an overloaded circuit which can cause overheating and fires.

How can you tell if a circuit is overloaded? You may have lights flickering for no apparent reason. Wall plates may be warm or discolored. The circuit breaker trips frequently. The receptacles make a buzzing or crackle noise.

If you have any of these signs, you need to do two things. First, unplug everything on the circuit immediately and shut off the circuit breaker. Second, call a licensed electrical contractor to check the circuit’s safety. Overloading a circuit can damage the wiring, the breaker, and the outlets.

Water Hazards

“It should be common knowledge that water and electricity don’t mix. However, people receive potentially deadly shocks all the time because they forget this basic principle”, said Ryan Bealmear, President of Teague Electric.

Never touch any electrical appliance or fixture that is touching water. It can kill you. Call a licensed electrical contractor to handle the situation.

Keep common household appliances away from water sources. This includes hair dryers, lamps, radiators, TVs, radios, and toasters.

These common electric hazards pose a danger to you and your family. Be aware of them and stop them from occurring. If you find the hazard present, take steps to keep everyone safe.