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May is Electrical Safety Month

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It may look as easy as putting on a tool belt and giving it your best can-do attitude, but solving electrical problems is more complex and dangerous than many know. In fact, it may shock you to find out that “electrical hazards cause more than 300 deaths and 4,000 injuries each year among the U.S. workforce.”

Because of its high-risk nature, it’s important to call professional electricians when dealing with electrical problems in your home or business. 

May is recognized as Electrical Safety Month and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a non-profit “dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety in the home, school, and workplace,” spearheads an annual campaign to promote electrical safety. 

This year’s theme is “Connected to Safety” and the team at Viva Electric wants to be sure that you feel connected to safety when it comes to the electrical solutions in your home. Here are 5 electrical safety tips that every homeowner should know. 

  1. GFCIs Keep You & Your Home Safe

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter protects against electric shock and is required in areas where water and electricity may come into contact, like bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, garages, kitchens, laundry areas and outdoor spaces. A GFCI is integrated into the outlet itself, allowing it to monitor the amount of power going into the device. This way if the device comes into contact with water, the GFCI can detect the interruption and cut off the power. 

  1. Loose & Burnt Outlets Need to Go 

Loose electrical outlets are very dangerous as the problem is often hidden beneath the surface. What is really loose is the wiring behind the panel. When the wiring behind the panel is loose, it creates a high-energy discharge between the two loose blades. This is known as an arc fault and can release an incredibly high amount of heat in a short period of time— over 35,000° F to be exact. 

You will be able to tell that the outlet is loose before it becomes a dangerous home fire hazard. The most common tell-tale sign is that cords won’t want to stay in. And in some cases, you’ll be able to feel the outlet moving underneath your hand when you go to plug something in. 

  1. Not All Circuit Breakers Are Created Equal

Circuit breakers are supposed to trip when wires are overloaded so as to not cause an electrical fire. But, FPE Stab Lok circuit breakers aren’t doing their job.

One study found that 51% of Stab Lok circuit breakers failed to trip when overloaded. A peer-reviewed paper estimated that FPE Stab-Lok breakers may be responsible for 2,800 fires, 13 deaths and $40 million in property damage annually. 

Whether you’re looking to buy a new house or simply updating the electrical system within your current house, it’s important to check the home’s circuit breaker. 

  1. Whole-Home Generators Can Keep The Lights On When Storms Are Raging

Whether it’s a hurricane, ice storm, major thunderstorm or wind storm, there is always a threat that your home’s power will go out— and there’s no telling how long it will stay out. Oftentimes we don’t realize how much we depend on electricity until we don’t have it. Are the temperatures dropping and you’re stuck inside with no heat? Is that medicine that needs to be refrigerated staying cool? What about the devices you depend on to stay connected to friends and family, are they staying charged?

A whole-home generator can put your mind at ease as it will turn on when the home loses power, guaranteeing that you can keep the lights on during life’s darkest moments. 

  1. Don’t Get Your Wires Crossed

Many homes built in the 1960s and 1970s were built with aluminum wiring which is now considered to be a serious fire hazard. Builders chose aluminum wiring over copper to avoid paying a higher price on the copper, but now you may be paying a higher price. 

There are several reasons why aluminum wiring is dangerous for your home. For one, aluminum expands much more easily than copper. Therefore, aluminum wiring can force wire out from terminal screws and loosen its connection to the device. This then exposes the metal to air and can result in corrosion and oxidation. 

Problems with aluminum wiring get worse over time. As the aluminum continues to expand from its exposure to the air, it will continue to separate from the connections and does eventually become a fire hazard. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, homes with aluminum wiring installed before 1972 are 55 times more likely to have one or more fire hazard conditions than homes with copper wiring. 

It’s important to practice electrical safety and to always call a professional electrician when dealing with your home’s electrical system. Taking the necessary precautions, like using GFCIs, replacing burnt outlets and keeping your home up to date with electrical code are all critical in preventing electrical fires and hazards. 

If you’re wondering if your home’s electrical system is safe and up to date, give the Viva Electric team a call! Our expert electricians can evaluate your home’s electrical system before making recommendations on how to make your home safer and more energy-efficient. Give our team a call or book your appointment online today!

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