Top 5: Electrical Safety Month

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May is Electrical Safety Month, spearheaded by the non-profit Electrical Safety Foundation International. This organization is dedicaated to promoting electrical safety at home, school, and places of work. This year, the ESFI is offering a comprehensive collection of resources to help the development of electrical safety campaigns throughout your community with a focus on “Smart Home”, lifesaving devices that keep a home smart, safe, and secure. Read our Top 5 Tips for improving the safety of your home or follow the links below to view some of the great resources from the ESFI!

1. Outlets & Light Switches

Check that all light switches and outlets are in working order. If any are discolored, warm to the touch, buzzing or loose, stop using these and call a licensed electrician to have them replaced. Read more

2. Smoke Detection

When thinking of a safe, smart home, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have to be one of the easiest ways to get started. Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas and in every bedroom. Test alarms once a month and replace batteries annually, whether they need it or not. Replace alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions or at least every ten years. Install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of the home and in your garage if it is attached to your home. Read more

3. Review Code Changes

Remodeling? Be sure read up on the latest requirements in the 2020 National Electrical Code.

General Requirements

Bathrooms

  • GFCI protection

Basements & Crawl Spaces

  • AFCI protection (finished basements)
  • GFCI protection (crawl spaces at or below grade)

Bedrooms

  • AFCI protection

Common Rooms (Family, dining, parlor, libraries, dens, recreation, and similar rooms)

  • AFCI protection

Garages

  • GFCI protection

Hallways & Closets

  • AFCI protection

Kitchens (Where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces or where receptacles are installed within 6 feet of a sink)

  • AFCI protection
  • GFCI protection

Laundry Areas

  • AFCI protection
  • GFCI protection

Outdoors

  • GFCI protection

2020 National Electrical Code Highlights

  • All receptacles in homes, garages, accessory buildings, and common areas of multifamily homes must be protected by TRRs
  • New and replaced service equipment are now required to be protected by listed Type 1 or Type 2 Surge Protective Devices
  • Outdoor emergency disconnects are required for new construction and homes having their service replaced.
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    Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI): Available as circuit breakers and receptacle. AFCIs protect against electrical fires from malfunctions. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 50% of home electrical fires can be prevented by proper AFCI protection.

    Surge Protective Devices (SPD): Surge Protective Devices protect against surges that can damage or reduce the lifespan of your electrical system and devices.

    Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI): Available as a circuit breaker and receptacle. GFCIs protect against electric shock and are required in areas where water and electricity may come in contact.

    Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRR): Tamper Resistant Receptacles function like normal receptacles but they include an internal shutter system to prevent foreign objects from being inserted into the outlets.

    Read more

    4. Check for Overloaded Systems

    Every year, 35,000 home fires are caused by electrical malfunctions. With an average home age of 43 years, many existing houses can’t handle the needs of today’s appliances and devices. If you notice any of the following conditions in your home, be sure to call in an electrical professional to take a closer look:

    • Lights dimming when you turn on other devices/appliances
    • Buzzing sound from outlets or switches
    • Discolored outlets
    • Circuit breakers tripping or fuses blowing
    • Underpowered appliances

    Read more

    5. Generate Safely

    Never operate a generator inside your home or other enclosed/partially-enclosed spaces. This includes garages! The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends generators be positioned 20ft+ from doors, windows, and vents to prevent Carbon monoxide from entering your home. Read more

    Additional Resources

    Home Electrical Safety
    Work from Home Safety
    Childproofing Your Home: Tamper Resistant Receptacles
    Fuse and Breaker Breakdown
     

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    Have questions on this topic or something else? Reach out to us with your questions and we will get back to you, you may even make it on our next blog post!

     

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