Spring has arrived and many people are thinking about doing some deep cleaning. This is a perfect time to also clean up some issues with your potential electrical hazards. Unfortunately, many people ignore electrical until there is a significant problem. With a little attention during your spring cleaning routine, you can keep your home and family safe.
Here are some easy steps to take that will help reduce your risk, and ensure you have a safe and happy summer.
Reduce Cord Clutter to Prevent Electrical Hazards
The first part of actual cleaning is to look at and reduce your electrical cord clutter. This would be the clutter behind your television, near your computer, or where you have all of your rechargeable electronics plugged in.
This clutter can be hazardous because it can easily lead to cords being worn or damaged. This increases the risk of electrical shock as well as electrical arcing.
These areas are often overlooked in terms of general cleaning, which means a buildup of dust. Dust is increasingly combustible due to household synthetic material and chemicals in cleaners and air fresheners. That means that if arcing occurs in the presence of this dust, you could be looking at a possible fire.
Inspect Electrical Cords
As already discussed, electrical cords can be extremely dangerous when they are worn. In addition to checking the cords in any cord clutter areas, you also want to check any exposed cords. Pay particular attention to extension cords, which have a tendency to wear and fray at either end.
Also, check the cords on your appliances, especially that of your washer and dryer. Cords are more likely to fray or wear when in a situation where there is a lot of vibration or movement, like for laundry.
Finally, check any exposed exterior cords for permanent fixtures such as lights. Exterior cords run a risk of creating electrical hazards, like a short, causing more problems throughout the house.
All of your outlets should be inspected regularly for signs of wear. When these are damaged, they create a significant fire hazard for your house.
When inspecting your outlets, check for the following signs needing repair or further investigation:
- Cracked sockets
- Dark streaks on the face-plate of in the outlet box
- Signs of inconsistent electrical flow, such as flickering lights
- The socket falling out of the box
- Sparks or a burning smell
- Loose wiring
Install GFCI Outlets
GFCI outlets have a small circuit breaker as part of the outlet. They are commonly used where some form of fault from moisture is likely. The most common areas to see these are in the kitchen and bathroom.
However, as you are performing your spring cleaning, look for other areas that may benefit from using a GFCI. If you have a newer home, you have all that you need. However, if you have an older home, you should also look at your laundry room, basement, garage, and workshops. This will help reduce the risk of electric shock and electrically related fire.
Plan for Outside Projects
With the warmer weather often comes projects. These are anything from home improvement projects you have been dreaming of all winter to part of your honey-do list. If there is any amount of digging that needs to take place, you need to plan for it properly.
One of the first calls to make is to a service to locate buried utilities, including both electrical, gas, water, and sewage lines. If you begin digging and hit a shallow power line, you run the risk of electrocution.
Clean Stove Exhaust Fan & Hood
Your stove exhaust fan is a critical component of your kitchen, and also poses a huge risk is not maintained properly. During your spring cleaning, be sure to pull down the filter and either clean or replace it. While it is down, take the time to clean off all built-up grease and food particles from the exhaust hood.
Check the wiring to the fan to be sure there are no signs of melting or other damage. If there is a break in the insulation, and a buildup of grease, you increase the risk of fire.
Check Bathroom Exhaust Fans
While your exhaust fans seem like a part of your HVAC system, they are actually critical to your electrical as well. When an exhaust fan has restricted airflow, it will putt strain on the motor. This additional strain will create more heat, possibly melting the insulation on electrical wiring, and creating fire and other electrical hazards.
During your spring cleaning, check for a filter on these fans and either clean or replace it. Be sure to clean any dust or mold that may have collected on the outside of the fan casing.
If you need help with your doorbell and are in the Lakeland area, then make sure you give the people at D.O.C. Electric a call. The people here have the experience and have been serving this community for a long time and are more than happy to help you with your doorbell or whatever electrical issue you might be having. Hopefully, your doorbell works fine for a long time, but having good people to call is not a bad idea should something happen.