Wall outlets are the bridge from electricity to appliances; they make it possible for our lamps, cell phone chargers, coffee makers and televisions to run. Most of the time, we don’t even think about how that happens or whether there are any dangers associated with it, but there are a few things you can look out for to keep your home and your family safe.
Make sure to regularly check your outlets for damages. All wires should be covered and plates should be tightened down. If the plates are cracked, they should be replaced immediately.
If your outlets are warm to the touch or discolored, contact a qualified electrician to determine the cause.
If you have an older home, consider upgrading your outlets to the safer, three-prong style that is grounded. If you don’t have three-prong outlets, be careful to never force a three-prong plug into a two-slot outlet.
GFCI outlets should be installed in any area where there is water, such as kitchens, pools, crawl spaces and bathrooms. These outlets monitor electricity flowing in a circuit and trip the circuit if an imbalance is detected, protecting people from electric shock.
If you have young children or grandchildren in your home, cover your outlets with plastic child safety plugs to keep little fingers and objects out of tempting outlets.
Don’t plug too many electrical devices into an outlet; this increases the risk of fire. If a power strip is filling up, transfer some items to another outlet. Turn the switch to a power strip off when appliances are not in use.
You can also save energy if electrical devices not in use are unplugged. Pay special attention to phone chargers, television sets and computers. These will use up energy even if they are turned off.
Always plug larger appliances, like refrigerators and washing machines, directly into outlets, not power strips.
When unplugging an item, make sure to grab the base of the plug. Pulling the cord itself can cause damage to both the cord and the outlet.
Pay attention to your outlets. If you notice a potential problem in your home, arrange for it to be fixed immediately to prevent accident or injury.
This safety message is brought to you by Piedmont Electric, your local Touchstone Energy Cooperative, serving 31,000 members in parts of Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Granville, Orange and Person Counties. To learn more about the power of your co-op membership visit TogetherWeSave.com.