What’s that hissing sound?

If you hear a hissing sound and you don’t have a cat, check your electricity.

Damaged wires and outlets can hiss when something’s wrong—just like the cat. But hissing electricity is much more dangerous than your pet.

So check your cords and outlets regularly to prevent an electrical accident. Some tips:

  1. When electrical cords are damaged, worn, cracked or corroded, the chances of fire or power surges increase significantly. Check for loose or improper connections, cracked wire insulation, chewed electrical wiring or frayed appliance or electrical cords. Call a licensed electrician to fix wiring problems; electricity is not a do-it-yourself project.
  2. It’s common sense: Avoid plugging anything into an electrical outlet near a water source. But did you know that even plugging a cell phone in too close to water can create a hazard if it falls into a tub or sink and you stick your hand in to retrieve it? You could get shocked.
  3. Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home? To douse an electrical fire, which usually start because of faulty wires or outlets, you need one. Never throw water onto an electrical fire; it can electrocute you.
  4. Child-proof all electrical outlets within the reach of your small children. Insert outlet covers where the prongs of an appliance go. That will prevent toddlers from sticking fingers and other objects into the sockets.
  5. Cramming too many plugs into a power strip and plugging it into an outlet that’s not sturdy enough for the load can cause the outlet to overheat and the circuit to trip. If you need more outlets, hire a licensed electrician to solve your problem.