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Electrical Safety and Do-It-Yourself Tips

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Being safe with electrical devices should be a top priority. Below are some general electrical safety tips to be used around the house:

  • Turn off the power: Never work on any live circuit, fixture, switch or receptacle. Be sure to shut off power before performing any electrical repair.
  • Correctly use extension cords: Never use extension cords that are frayed or damaged, and avoid placing them beneath carpets or rugs. Also, never overload an extension cord and outlet. Extension cords should never be used as a substitute for permanent wiring.
  •  Follow wattage recommendations: Use the proper wattage light bulbs as recommended on the UL® tag in light fixtures and lamps.
  • Consider Ground Fault Interrupters (GFIs / GFCIs): In areas of moisture, consider installing GFI receptacles for protection against electric shock. GFIs / GFCIs constantly monitor electricity flow into a circuit and can detect even slight variations. They quickly shut off current flowing to a circuit when variations occur.
  • For older electrical systems: Consider having an electrical system inspection to determine the safety and efficiency of your system.
  • Try nightlights for safety: Install low energy nightlights in hallways, bathrooms and kitchens to guide family members and guests at night.
  • For circuit breaker trips: If your circuit breaker trips or fuses blow there may be a short circuit, an overloaded circuit or a weak breaker. A certified electrician will need to handle this for you.

Electrical malfunctions may often require a licensed professional. However, sometimes a little troubleshooting and minor correction may be all that is required. Below are some quick troubleshooting resolutions for around the house:

  • Light fixture doesn’t work: First, check the bulb; otherwise it may be a faulty switch, loose wiring or a faulty socket.
  • Appliance won’t turn on: Check for an overloaded circuit, a damaged cord or a loose plug.
  •  Blown fuse: Shut off all power before touching the fuse and always replace it with one of the same type and amp rating.
  • GFI/GFCI receptacle won’t work: Try pressing the reset button and you should be back in business.
  • Light bulbs burn out quickly: Check the wattage of the bulb, as it may be too high for the fixture.
  • Humming light fixture: Check the light bulb, as it may mean a bad ballast or transformer that needs to be replaced, or possibly a conflict between a low voltage dimmer and low voltage light control.

Do-It-Yourself Tips: Backup Power Generators

Here are a few tips to help ensure proper operation of your generator:

  • Schedule an annual maintenance check to provide necessary maintenance.
  • Keep air vents on the unit clear of any obstruction.
  • Keep debris and snow off and away from the unit.
  • Check periodically to ensure that the unit is running a weekly test cycle.
  • During extended power outages, check the oil level regularly.

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