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(515) 556-5543



6 Home Electrical Tips You Need to Know

6 Home ElCoffin Electric Tips You Need to Know

6 Home Electrical Tips You Need to Know

     1. Electricity and Water Don’t Mix

We know this is common knowledge for most, but a reminder never hurts. In our day to day, it’s easy to get caught up in routine like drying your hair with a hair dryer after a shower while standing on a wet floor or using wet hands. Even little instances like this cause a risk to your safety, so remember to keep your surroundings dry when handling electrical outlets or appliances. 

      2. Keep Children in the Loop

It’s important to help any children in your home understand how to be careful around electricity. Simple things like keeping water away from electricity and the dangers of exposed electrical cables are crucial to start teaching them from a young age, as well as things to know in the event of less frequent occurrences like storms that cause damage to electrical lines. Let them know to stay away from electrical wiring that has been downed during a storm.

      3. Practice Cord Safety

With so many electrical appliances in our homes today, there are also many opportunities for danger. Watching out for frayed or broken cords and replacing them when need be, giving cords enough space from anything flammable in case of sparks, not overusing or overloading extension cords, and plugging appliances into the correct outlets are all important habits to keep up with. Broken cords present a risk for electrocution, cords underneath rugs can increase risk of fire, and plugging appliances like portable heaters or air conditioners into extension cords won’t provide enough energy to your appliance. 

      4. Don’t Overload Sockets

If you can, it’s better to distribute your electrical load for appliances between multiple electrical outlets, rather than plugging many into one. Properly distributing your appliances and unplugging them when you’re not using them will decrease the risk of overloading circuits. 

      5. Test GFCIs

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters help protect people from electrical shock and electrocution. These GCFIs are self testing, meaning all you need to do to test your outlet is press the test button on your outlet, which should make a snapping sound. That means the receptacle has tripped. If it doesn’t trip, you should contact a certified electrician like Coffin Electric to check things over. 

      6. Match Bulb Wattages

Before putting a lightbulb in an appliance, you should check to see if it’s the right wattage. Lightbulbs that are rated below appliance output can get too hot and could spark a fire.


Fire Safety in Your Home

Coffin Electric June 20th Fire Safety in Your Home

Fire Safety in Your Home

Electrical fires in the home account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly $1.3 billion in property damage, 1,400 injuries, and nearly 500 deaths. We want to ensure that you aren’t included in those numbers. You can take preventative measures to keep your home and your loved ones safe.


Get to Know Your Electrical Panel

Do you have Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupting breakers or AFCIs? 

An AFCI is a type of circuit breaker that detects and protects against electrical arcs, which can become hot enough to cause house fires (check our last blog for more information on arcs). These breakers have been required in homes since about 2002, but if you have an older home that hasn’t been renovated you may not have them.


Have you tested your AFCIs?

You should try to test your AFCIs monthly. When the power is on and the breaker switch is in the ON position, find and press the AFCI Test button. The AFCI should trip, causing the switch to move to either the OFF or TRIP position, depending on your breaker. If it trips, your AFCI is working! Turn it off and on again to reset, and don’t forget to test it again next month. However, if the AFCI doesn’t trip, contact our licensed electricians at Coffin Electric to replace it. 


Are all circuit breakers the proper size?

The size of your breakers and fuses varies from home to home. For a circuit breaker, the size is the maximum current that can go through it without tripping the circuit, which would result in a loss of power. So, the breaker that controls the circuit should be 125% of the continuous load, 

(which is the maximum current expected to last three or more hours) and 100% of the non continuous load (which are shorter bursts of power).



Use Lamps and Appliances Safely


Are you using the correct bulb for each appliance?

Believe it or not, there are right and wrong light bulbs for each of your electrical appliances. If the wrong bulb is used, it could potentially start a fire–like a higher wattage bulb on a lamp that uses a lower wattage. Always compare wattages from your bulb to your appliance.


How do you use space heaters?

There are a lot of rules for space heaters, but it’s easy to slip up and forget when you’re trying to warm up. Keep flammable items at least 3 feet away from your space heater (or any other heat source) and place it on a level, flat surface on the ground. Make Finally, never leave your 

space heater unattended and don’t forget to turn it off when you go to bed! 



Practice Safe Cord Use


Are your cords damaged?

Make sure your cords are all in good condition. Watch out for frays, cracks, pinches, and punctures. Damaged cords are dangerous, putting you at risk not only for electrical fires, but electrocution too.


How often do you use extension cords

As convenient as they are, it’s important to know that extension cords are not intended to be used as a permanent wiring solution, only temporary. If you’re relying on extension cords daily, that is an indication that your home electrical system needs upgrading as you have too few outlets to address your needs, you should have new outlets installed where you need them. When used improperly, plugging them into one another, covering cords from airflow, or relying on them for permanent wiring, extension cords can overheat and cause fires.


These are the first steps in practicing fire safety in your home. For the crucial final two steps, check back with us next week!