Top Common Electrical Hazards You Can Guard Against

When it comes to electricity we know that an ounce of prevention saves lives. That is why we are called on regularly to ensure the electrical safety of commercial buildings, whether it is remodel, tenant improvement, or being built from the ground up.

Most of us take electricity for granted, because when we need light it’s there. When we need power, all we have to do is plug in. And it works. Until it doesn’t. And it is safe. Until it isn’t. And when it does not work, it can be unsafe, scary, and extremely dangerous.

Most people associate the dangers of electricity with the potential of being shocked or electrocuted. Or as long as it is not mixed with water, systems are good to go. However, there are many hazards that need to be considered both at home and on worksites. Some arcs that are caused by short circuits result in complete disintegration and any electrical work performed around flammable vapers or gases, can cause sparks that trigger explosions.

Here are the most common electrical hazards we guard against for all residential and commercial electrical work we do:

Commercial or Residential Wiring – Is it outdated or not installed correctly?  

The National Fire Prevention Association reports that faulty wiring is the leading cause of fires.

What you can do to ensure your safety:

If the wiring is 30 years or older, have it inspected annually. Tips for getting the most out of your electrical inspection

Water near Electrical Outlets

Water and electricity do not mix.

What you can do to ensure your safety:

  • In the event that equipment or an appliance gets wet (or water is approaching) DO NOT UNPLUG IT. Your first step is to go to the electrical panel and turn off the power sources connected to the outlet providing the power. Only then can you safely unplug it and then CALL AN ELECTRIAN for a safety evaluation.

Not Installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)

GFCIs immediately shut off power if it detects a shock, which is an effective way to prevent serious injury. This is especially important for outlets located near water sources. In order for property to be up to code, GFCIs are required.

What you can do to ensure your safety:

  • Install GFCI protected outlets to minimize the risk of electrical shock or electrocution. Hire an electrician that addresses this from the start. If you are in the midst of building a dwelling from the ground up, (link to content Geoffrey is adding…already written and approved by Charis and Zach). and the electrician does not recommend this, they are probably not the right person for the job.
  • Hire an electrician to install GFCI protected outlets and have them add breaker switches to the main breaker panel.

Wrong Wattage Light Bulbs

A common mistake is to use a higher wattage light bulb than the device (outdoor commercial lighting, lamp fixtures, security lighting) can safely handle. This can overload the wiring and is a fire hazard.

What you can do to ensure your safety:

  • Look at the light bulb wattage and ensure that it is less than or equal to the maximum wattage printed on the lamp’s socket.
  • In the event that a space needs greater visibility and lighting, purchase the right fixture that can accommodate a higher wattage bulb. An electrical evaluation of your property is the perfect time to talk to the electrician about this need.

Overloaded Power Strips and Outlets

Do you have a power strip that is overflowing with plug and cords? Not only is it an eyesore, it is a hazard and can cause an electrical fire. Especially, if you are plugging in adapters to the power strip to power even more device.

What you can do to ensure your safety:

  • Remember power strips and outlets can only handle a particular amount of electricity so don’t overload them out of convenience. Having an electrician that can design a lighting, electricity plan for your commercial building or residence not only ensure you have the power you need it guards you against starting an electrical fire.
  • Do not plug adapters into the power strip to increase the number of devices it can accommodate. Also, do not plug in two or more power strips together.
  • For power strips at your residence, it is a good idea to purchase ones with circuit breakers. Only purchase and use power strips with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) seal.
  • Check for heat around the power strip and check the power strip on a regular basis for any fraying of wires or wear.

If you are unsure if your home or workplace is up to code, or experiencing any electrical issues at all, call us for an inspection. We can walk you through our recommendations to ensure your safety.

Contact us today! And continue to visit our blog as we explore more everyday hazards that you can guard against. Light and power – it’s a beautiful thing, when done right.

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