The spring season has officially started – the warm weather and blooming flowers will surely wipe away all winter blues. Traditionally, when we hear “spring”, spring cleaning will surely be the next thing in mind. It’s all about clearing the clutter away, deep cleaning the house, dusting all those nooks and crannies, redecorating, and more – the general goal is to reinvigorate your house and make it feel as good as new.
Since spring cleaning is mostly associated with generally tidying up the house, most of you will probably not include electrical inspections and maintenance in your annual spring-cleaning list. This spring, make sure that you aim to clear out any potential electrical issues in your home. In as much as a clean house is for your family’s health and safety, so is making sure that electrical hazards are out of the way. Take this as another way of “cleaning” and taking care of your household. As you go through each part of your house for some deep cleaning, make sure to also check the electrical side. Some of the electrical safety spring cleaning that you can do are inspecting your extension cords, reducing the clutters in your electrical circuits, checking your light fixtures, testing your alarm, inspecting your plugs, checking your GFCI outlets, inspecting your power tools and outdoor appliances before using and more. You’ll be surprised how much electricity-related work should be done around your house to ensure that everything is in top shape.
Here are 8 electrical safety spring cleaning tips:
- Inspect your extension cords, also ensure proper placement
If you are using extension cords, make sure to thoroughly check them for any signs of wear and tear. From the prongs down to the outer jacket of the cord, make sure that there are no discoloration, cracks, and exposed wires. If there are, it is best to buy a new one.
In addition to checking for damages, ensure that you are using the right extension cords (check out the link here for the types of extension cords and safety tips) and ensure that you are using the correct one (e.g. indoor application, outdoor use, heavy-duty use).
In terms of placement, make sure that you are not running the cords under carpets, rugs, and through the ceiling or walls. This is to avoid tripping accidents and overheating. Also, do not nail or staple your extension cords to surfaces, as this is a fire hazard.
Pro Tip: If you notice that you are relying heavily on extension cords, add to your spring cleaning/home improvement list to call in a licensed electrician to install additional outlets in your home. Remember that extension cords are not meant as a long-term solution and they can present numerous hazards.
- Reduce the clutters in your electrical circuitsCheck your usage to avoid circuit overload. Make sure that you are aware of the electrical demands of your appliances and use this knowledge when decluttering. For example, in your kitchen area, does your kitchen counter resemble an appliance showcase? Are they all necessary and plugged in? You can start decluttering and removing unnecessary appliances.
- Check your light fixtures
While you are dusting your lamps and cleaning your ceiling fans, add into the cleaning mix the checking of your bulb wattages. As a guide, make sure that your bulb wattage is less than or equal to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
If you also notice any defective light bulbs, replace them immediately, again, make sure that they are the correct wattage. Tell-tale signs of incorrect wattage are flickering lights, light bulbs burning out, or dimming prematurely.
You can also aim to be more eco-friendly choices like using CFL bulbs. Warning though, make sure that you are using CFL bulbs correctly. Do not use them in dimmers, tack lighting, and pot lights.
- Test out your alarms and clean up your smoke detectorsTest your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms if they are still working. If working properly, these devices will alert you of potential carbon monoxide poisoning and fire. This can save lives so do not take this lightly.
Also, check if you have dirty smoke detectors, remove the dust accumulation inside the cover by gently vacuuming.
Tip: Smoke detectors should generally be replaced every 10 years or by the manufacturer’s instruction, so make sure to check the manufacturer date.
- Inspect your plugs, outlets, switches
As you clean room by room, make sure to check all your outlets, switches, and plugs. Signs to look out for are discoloration, warm-to-touch outlets/switches, and exposed wirings or signs of damage. For outlets and switches, make sure that they are fixed tight to avoid any electrical hazards. Aside from appearance, if you notice that your circuits are frequently tripping, do not ignore this red flag and call your trusted electrician for help to avoid electrical issues like electrocution and fires.
- Check your GFCI outletsThis is not “exclusive” for springtime but should be done a few times a year. If you are not doing this, then make sure to add it to your spring-cleaning list. This is very simple, just press the “reset” button then plug in a lamp, after which, press the “test” button. This should turn the light off, and once you push the “reset” button again, the light should be back on. If it is not working accordingly, call in a professional electrician to repair it.
Note that in case you don’t have a GFCI outlet installed in areas near water sources, like the kitchen, bathroom, basement, and outdoor receptacles, make sure to have them installed. Not only is this a safety risk but you are also not in compliance with NEC.
- Inspect your power tools and outdoor appliances before using
After the long winter season, your power tools and outdoor appliances may have sustained damages or wear and tear. If yes, then it means that electrical accidents could happen anytime. While you are cleaning your garage or areas where your power tools or outdoor appliances are in, a few minutes of inspection for signs of damage (e.g., frayed cord) will spare you from electrical dangers.
- Plan well before you do any yard workIf you are planning to do some landscaping this spring or gardening or perhaps adding in a fence or any major project that will involve digging, step back and call in your power and utility companies first. You may not know it, but your digging could affect underground power lines, buried wires, piping, and more. They will send in a representative to mark where your utilities are buried or inform you of the potential hazards. By doing so, you will avoid hitting them and stay safe while doing your project.
Call in the Pros for Electrical Inspection
Yes, you can incorporate your electrical checks with your spring-cleaning list, and we’ve hopefully given you ideas on what to inspect or change. But as always, it will be best if you bring in the professionals for a thorough electrical inspection. Electrical inspections shouldn’t just happen when you are selling a home, doing renovations, and experiencing electrical issues, it should happen at least once a year to make sure that everything is working optimally and your home is up to code. In addition, there are several electrical issues that you may be unaware of, and spring is the best time to schedule the inspection. Why?
- It is best to conduct an electrical inspection before summer.
Keep in mind that summer means that you will be using more of your electricity with AC probably running 24/7. This could mean overloading especially if you are living in older homes. To ensure that your home is far from having electrical fire and can handle the pressure of the summer season, then a professional electrical inspection during spring is the way to go.
- Winter season has just passed.
We all know that water and electricity are a terrible mix. With ice and snow thawing, the possibility of electrical damage could happen. You may not know it, but winter has brought in damage to your electrical system (e.g. freezing and thawing could damage wires). In addition, same with the summer season where electrical demand is high, the winter season will also most likely take a toll on your system (use of space heaters, heating pads, use of more lights, and more).
- You may be thinking of home improvements projects during spring.
Spring is perfect for home improvement projects and home repairs, but to ensure safety, it will be best that electrical inspection is done first before any improvements. You may need more sockets or even an electrical upgrade for your home improvement projects.
- Save money and ensure safety.
Of course, an electrical inspection could be done anytime. If you are doing your spring cleaning, do not hesitate to add in “electrical cleaning” to ensure that your home is as safe as it can be. In addition, you will also be able to save money in the long run if your electrical system is working at the optimum level. You may even be able to save money on your insurance premium after electrical inspection, repair, and improvement have been done in your home.
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