Keep Your Circuits in Tip-Top Condition to Prevent House Fires

Time: 1-2 hours

Tripped breakers, short circuits, and scary sparks — definitely not things you want for your home’s electrical. Keep your circuits in tip-top condition to prevent house fires. Bonus: you’ll save energy AND money on your electrical bills.

What’s In It For You?

  • Increased electrical safety for your home
  • Cheaper electricity bills

(Show me how)

Keep Your Circuits in Tip-Top Condition to Prevent House Fires

  1. Test your outlets. Head over to your local hardware store and grab a three-prong electrical receptacle tester. Plug it into your outlets one-by-one to test them — especially in wet places like bathrooms and kitchens. The clearly labeled prong lights will tell you if there are any electrical malfunctions. If you find anything wrong, call a professional immediately. Malfunctioning outlets can be a serious fire risk. Safety first, people.

  2. Shuffle your large appliances. The key here is to not overburden a single circuit — rearrange large appliances so each has a dedicated outlet. Power-hungry appliances plugged into a single circuit can cause your breakers to trip and even damage your internal wiring. We’re looking at you, HVAC units and fridges.

  3. Use shorter extension cords. We get it — the corner across the room from your outlet is the perfect spot for your TV. But before you get an extra-long extension cord to make it work, consider that electrical currents have a hard time traveling long distances. That means overheating. Not good. Stay safe by replacing longer cords with 25 foot, 14-gauge cords. Hint: Thicker cords help disperse heat so if you absolutely must get a longer cord, get one that’s thicker as well.

  4. Match your appliance amperages to your outlets. Are sparks flying? Appliances overheating? Your appliance amperages are probably too high for your circuit. (Hint: An amperage rating is the maximum amount of electrical current your circuit can safely carry without short-circuiting.) Check the amp ratings on your appliances to make sure they match the ratings of your outlets. They don’t match? The easiest solution is to buy a transformer. No overloaded circuits here.

  5. Use the right light bulbs. Stay away from high-wattage light bulbs — they burn out faster, increase your home’s energy usage and cause short-circuits. Instead, choose ones with a wattage that matches the amperage of your outlets.

Pro tip: Install energy-efficient LED or fluorescent light bulbs to save energy and reduce the risk of overloading your circuits.

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