Electricity has pretty much become indispensable to our lives today, as they make glorious wonders such as the Internet, Netflix, television, and ice cream possible to enjoy from the comforts of our home. Not to mention that there are tons of electricity retailers singapore to choose from. However, what comes with having an electrical system at home is electrical risks. Electrical fires and electrocution may sound like something moms nag about that could never happen to you — but what if they do? Here is a list of tips on how to manage these risks so that homeowners can go to sleep at night feeling well equipped and prepared against emergencies.
The outlet’s on fire!
Since we have already mentioned electrical fires, here is how it usually happens. Stay alert to signs of worn out and melted wires and sockets in your home as they could be signaling to you that those wires have been overheating and are very likely to become fire hazards.
A prevention plan is to have a fire extinguisher that is rated A-B-C at home and educate everyone on how to properly use it. This rating means that it can be safely used on electrical appliances and wires. It is also important to know that splashing water on a burning socket is the worst thing that you can do. Water is still a conductor of electricity, and wetting the area could very much get you electrocuted as well.
Young ‘uns beware!
Let’s get down to it. Babies drool a lot, and kids love to play with water. They both love getting their hands in places they don’t belong, and we certainly hope they never get them anywhere near your electrical systems!
There are many products out there that help baby proof and make a home child-safe, such as plastic plugs that keep empty sockets plugged up so naughty fingers don’t go wandering in. There are also insulating covers that keep your exposed wiring protected and out of reach, popular choices for owners with young children or playful pets.
All about blown fuses!
What causes them?
If you realize or suspect that you have a blown fuse, you should immediately turn the power of the appliance off, then the main power. There are various factors of what could lead to a blown fuse, some of which could be a wiring problem or that the appliance works with an incompatible voltage.
Another reason could be the limitations of the metallic materials your fuse is made of. If it is made out of metals with low melting points like tin and alloy, it would have a higher chance of blowing when its center melts from being unable to withstand a higher intake of energy.
It is normal for fuses to blow, especially when they are aged. They will have to be fixed when this happens, but appliances don’t always manage to be revived from fixing a blown fuse alone, so be sure to get a professional to give it a good check!
However, don’t just look at your appliances, sometimes it could also be an issue related to your own electrical wiring! If you live in an older apartment with an electrical system that hasn’t been upgraded in a while, it is likely that the system would not be able to efficiently support new-age complex appliances. Modern tech today uses more power than older devices, and can give aged wires and fuses a good run for their money!
So before you go buying new shiny looking appliances on sale, make sure to first get to know the limitations of your own home wiring, and do some research on the amperage of the products you’re purchasing beforehand!
Lastly, be aware of how you set up your plugs and sockets at home. Chances are that when you connect too many devices in the same socket and run them at the same time, the electrical flow would look like a chaotic highway. Fuses are there to prevent overloading of energy, so they would naturally go off as a safety mechanism to prevent electrical fires.
Take note, do-it-yourselves!
If you are planning to solve the blown fuse yourself, it’s important to first observe the fuse size! Size is important, as different sizes match different gauges of circuit wires and can prevent overloading of power. If you are unsure about what gauge sizes are equivalent to, here is a short and simple list to refer to! Make sure to always use a fuse with the same amp when fixing, never one with a higher amp.
- 10-gauge or bigger wire = 30-amp circuit breaker
- 12-gauge or bigger wire = 20-amp circuit breaker
- 14-gauge or bigger wire = 15-amp circuit breaker
Common mistakes and tips on how to avoid them
Diagnosing the root of the problems you are facing can be a process that requires a lot of time and patience, and can sometimes even be due to wires out of your own reach and sight! It is best to work backward, starting from what you can see and check first, or the appliance that is the main suspect. Here is a short rundown of how you can approach an electrical problem and work backward.
- Turn off the appliance, and then the main power it is connected to
- Check to see if its fuse is blown
- If it isn’t, it is probably a problem with the wires in your home
- Observe the outlet it is connected to for signs of overload such as discoloring, sparks, or smoke, and then switches and light fixtures to see if there are loose connections
Overloaded outlets are one of the most common causes of electrical fires and house fires today as homeowners push the limits of their sockets by plugging and running too many devices at the same time.
If you’ve noticed that your lights have been flickering or been dimmer than before, you get mini-shocks when you are in contact with your electrical appliances, or that your circuit breaker is constantly tripping, your outlets are probably overloaded.
To prevent this, organize your electricity consumption better and give your sockets more space to breathe! This is especially so for outlets that are already supporting a high amperage device, like a television set. Some homes still rely on extension cords and tend to overload their sockets because they have too few outlets. If this is the case, you should look into installing more outlets in your home. It’s worth the investment to make your domestic life safer and more convenient, we promise!
How to not treat your plugs and cords
It is still the safest practice to unplug devices that are not in use, will not be in use for a while, and if you will be away from home for a period of time. It is also important to remember that wires can be delicate, and loose ones are what can cause electrocution and the haywiring of a device. So stop yanking your USBs and cables by their cords! Gently unplug them from their heads after turning off the power instead. Lastly, keep your electrical outlets and appliances in dry areas and away from flammable materials.
When it comes to managing electrical systems and safe practices at home, most of us learn from mistakes as we go. From listening to your parents lecture you about turning off the charger when it’s not in use to dealing with light bulbs that keep fusing for some reason, we hope that we have managed to make your life easier by listing down the dos and don’ts to take note of, and how to diagnose which problem it is you’re facing!