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Your Home: Making Room for Electrical Safety

Updated: Apr 1

Electricity is a safe and reliable form of energy. However, it can be dangerous if not treated properly. The following is a checklist of items you can use throughout your home to help protect your family.


Photo of a family posing in front of their home.
Common sense and good safety habits are the best protection against electrical hazards.

Whole house

  • Make sure lightbulbs are the appropriate wattage for all fixtures.

  • If small children are present, install covers on all unused outlets.

  • Keep electrical cords away from foot traffic, and ensure they’re not covered by rugs or furniture.

  • Don’t use extension cords on a long-term basis.

  • Avoid plugging multiple devices into one outlet.

  • All 15 and 20-amp circuit breakers in your electrical panel should have arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) capability to protect electrical wiring and your house from fire due to arcing.


Bathrooms

  • Never use electrical devices, such as radios or hair dryers, when using the bathtub.

  • Install only ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected outlets in the bathroom. GFCIs protect people from shock hazards.

  • Unplug small appliances when not in use.


Kitchen

  • Unplug countertop appliances when not in use.

  • Locate appliance cords away from heat sources, such as the stove or range.

  • Make sure all kitchen outlets are GFCI-protected.


Bedrooms

  • Avoid drinking liquid when using an electric blanket or heating pad.

  • Don’t cover an electric blanket when in use.

  • Make sure electric blankets are in good condition; check for cracks or breaks in electrical cords.

  • Turn off electric blankets and heating pads when not in use if they don’t have a timer.


Basement

  • Keep the electrical panel free from obstructions, and make sure your hands and the floor are dry before touching the panel.

  • Install GFCI protection in outlets near clothes washers, wash tubs, or all outlets if the area around them is damp.

  • Place portable heaters and dehumidifiers on a stable and level surface, at least 3 feet from walls and other objects.


Outdoors

  • Install watertight covers on all outlets so that the outlet is protected, even with a cord plugged in.

  • Make sure all outdoor outlets are GFCI-protected.

  • Ensure power tools are in good condition and wires aren’t cracked or frayed.

  • Store power tools indoors to keep them from being damaged by water or excessive heat.

  • When working outdoors, use only weather-resistant extension cords marked for outdoor use.

  • Power lines may be underground as well. Before digging, call 811 to have utility lines marked.


These tips are for informational purposes only and aren’t meant to supersede state or local building codes. Contact your local building inspector for information regarding requirements in your area. Remember that common sense and good safety habits are the best protection against electrical hazards.


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