This home safety checklist can help you find issues with your electrical system or appliances before they start a fire or become a shock hazard in your home:
- Electrical outlets – Check for loose-fitting plugs. Replace missing or broken wall plates so wiring and components are not exposed. If you have young children in the home, check that unused outlets are covered, or install tamper resistant outlets. If an outlet is not working, have an electrician check it out. It may be an indicator of unsafe wiring.
- Plugs – Never force plugs into outlets. Do not remove the grounding pin (third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit a two-conductor outlet. Avoid overloading outlets with adapters and too many appliance plugs.
- Cords – Make sure cords are not frayed or cracked, placed under carpets or rugs, tightly wrapped around any object, or located in high traffic areas. Do not nail or staple them to walls, floors, or other objects.
- Extension cords – They are not intended as permanent household wiring, so use them on a temporary basis only. If you find you need more circuits, talk to an electrician about installing more so you will not need to use extension cords. Make sure your extension cords have safety closures to protect young children from shocks and burns. See more information on Extension Cord Safety.
- Light bulbs – Check the wattage to make sure light bulbs match the fixture requirements. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage ratings than recommended on the fixture. Make sure they are screwed in securely so they do not overheat.
- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) – Make sure GFCIs are installed in your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, workshop, basement, garage, and outdoor outlets. Test them monthly to ensure they are working properly.
- Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) – Consider having AFCIs installed in your home. An AFCI is installed in a circuit breaker and monitors the flow of electricity throughout your home. If the AFCI detects any abnormality, it will shut the system off, preventing a fire.
- Appliances/Electronics – If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker, or has given you an electrical shock, immediately unplug it and have it repaired or replaced. Look for cracks or damage in wiring and connectors. Use surge protectors to protect expensive electronics. Make sure your appliances and electronics are placed in dry locations. See some information on routine Dryer Maintenance
- Electrical wiring - Check for loose wall receptacles, loose wires, or loose lighting fixtures. Listen for popping or sizzling sounds behind walls. Immediately shut off, then professionally replace light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that spark and flicker.
- Circuit breakers/fuses – Check that circuit breakers are working properly. Fuses should be properly rated for the circuit they are protecting.
- Service capacity – As you continue to upgrade your home with more lighting, appliances, and electronics, your home’s electrical service capacity may become overburdened. If fuses blow or trip frequently, you may need to increase the capacity of your electrical service or add new branch circuits. A qualified electrician can determine the appropriate service requirements for your home.
- Nails in walls– If you are putting a nail into a wall, know what lies behind the wall. A punctured wire could shock you immediately, or cause a fire in weeks, months, or years. Some electronic stud finders can be used to locate wires and avoid them.
- Pets– Don't forget about pets. It is your job to protect you pet from electrical hazards. Here are some great tips to for you to keep in mind.
- Holiday Decorating–Decorating with lights for the holidays is something you do every year and don't think much about it. Here are some important safety tips for holiday decorating that will help keep you safe.
Information Source: SafeElectricity.org