You rely on electricity every day, but is your home’s built-in electrical system safe? Without proper maintenance and precaution, damage can result in power outages, property damage, and, in severe cases, electrical fires. Following these tips to protect your home’s electrical system will ensure that you always have power when you need it.

Keep Everything Up to Date

You should have your home electrical system checked by a professional at least once a year, especially after a period of turbulent weather. Storms electrical damage can range from power outages to overheating and short-circuiting. If water damage comes in contact with damaged or exposed wires, you could have a major health risk on your hands. Be sure to practice electrical safety at all times, and never try to investigate damaged wires or electrical systems on your own. Leave that to a trained professional.

Don’t Overuse Outlets

A greater electrical demand on a single outlet can lead to overheating and create a fire hazard. American outlets have two standard voltage amounts: 120 and 240. Although your home has built-in circuit breakers or fuses to prevent electrical fires, they are not entirely fail-proof. During periods of heavy use, people tend to create a heavy demand on their home’s electricity supply. Common instances in which you may accidentally overload your electrical system and cause a fire may be DIY electrical work, installing holiday lights, running multiple appliances at once, or keeping exotic pets.

To prevent plugging too many things into an outlet, you just have to divide voltage by wattage to figure out how many amps are being used. If you have a 20-amp outlet, then you know that you can’t plug in more than that without risking damage. Be especially careful with “daisy chaining” — the practice of using power strips and extension cords to plug many devices into one outlet.

Conserve Wherever You Can

Aside from being good for the environment, reducing overall electricity use is a good way to preserve your home’s electrical system. Some of the easiest ways to conserve energy at home include using blinds and curtains to cool a room rather than constantly running your AC, only washing clothes when there is a full load, and using cold water and replacing incandescent lightbulbs with more energy-efficient LEDs. 

It’s also a good idea to unplug electrical devices whenever you aren’t using them. This includes phone and laptop chargers, printers and fax machines and kitchen appliances. Many people mistakenly assume that devices only draw power when they’re in use, but anything plugged into an outlet pulls energy. Overconsumption raises your electricity bill and wears down your system and appliances faster. 

Don’t underestimate the danger of overloading your home’s electrical system. Pay close attention to your overall power draw and what’s plugged into what. If you’re unsure, call in a professional electrician to have a look. Doing so will protect your family and save you money in the long run.

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