An Electrical Safety Checklist You Need for Your Home


Electricity adds so much comfort and convenience to our everyday lives, allowing homeowners to cook, clean and work with greater efficiency. However, technology also has its downsides, including a multitude of dangers associated with electrical appliances.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, electrical fires result in almost 500 deaths annually, while issues with electrical receptacles cause about 40 deaths and over 100 injuries.

Though these statistics can be frightening, it’s important to remember that the best way to avoid potential harm is simply by staying vigilant about your home’s electricity. Service Legends is happy to serve as your partner for electrical safety by providing regular inspections and repairs. Check out these handy blogs for additional resources for all of your electrical needs.

Additionally, we recommend following the practices below to ensure your family is protected:

1. Watch Out for Unusual Sounds and Smells

Strange noises and scents are always worth investigating. For example, if you hear an outlet buzzing or a light crackling, your home’s wiring might be damaged. In these situations, do not try to disassemble and repair outlets independently. Instead, deactivate your home’s electricity using your breaker box and seek professional assistance.

You should also call your local electrical company like MidAmerican Energy or Alliant Energy if you notice any of the following smells:

  • Burnt plastic: This indicates an electrical device is malfunctioning, potentially melting the surrounding materials. Additionally, don’t ignore any outlets or wires that feel warmer than usual.
  • Fish: Surprisingly, a fishy smell might also indicate a burning electrical outlet.
  • Rotten eggs: A sulfurous stench like rotten eggs often signals a carbon monoxide leak. Even if your CO detector hasn’t gone off, leave your home immediately.

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2. Maintain CO and Smoke Detectors

Well-maintained carbon monoxide and smoke detectors help you identify electrical issues before facing any of the aforementioned smells. If your home doesn’t have alarms on each floor, you should consider installing a new device as soon as possible.

To make sure your detectors are running smoothly, test them monthly and swap out their batteries annually. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to dust the surrounding area, as excessive dirt can interfere with an alarm’s processes.

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3. Inspect GFCIs, AFCIs and Breaker Boxes Regularly

GFCIs (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters) and AFCIs (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters) both serve as electrical circuit interrupters for outlets. The former will disrupt a circuit to prevent electric shock, while the latter will do the same when there’s an electrical arcing issue. Basically, they cut power when there’s an outlet malfunction.

You should inspect these devices monthly by following these steps:

  1. Press the “test” button typically found on an outlet between the two slots for plugging.
  2. Afterward, plug in a lamp or other appliance (which shouldn’t turn on) to make sure no electricity is flowing.
  3. Finally, activate the circuit again by pressing “reset.”

If you’re uncomfortable with this process, schedule an electrical safety inspection with a professional. A technician will test all your GFCIs and AFCIs for you. We’ll make sure to check your breaker box as well.

Do you have a hard time understanding the labels on your electrical panel box?

Has it been over five years since your breaker has been serviced? If so, you should also set up an electrical inspection.

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4. Clean Electrical Appliances

All major appliances such as your stove, fridge, washer and dryer should be cleaned regularly. Excessive dust could catch fire in case of a circuit malfunction.

Additionally, make sure there’s adequate space around these devices, as improper circulation encourages damage. For example, stacking items on your fridge can lead to overheating.

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5. Use Extension Cords Responsibly

Extension cords are built for temporary use, meaning they shouldn’t be attached to any appliances that are running 24/7. This will cause the cord to wear out or even spark.

Furthermore, never use a cord that is frayed or twisted, and avoid removing plugs from outlets by tugging. This can rip a wire, leading to sudden electrocution.

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6. Develop a Plan for Emergencies

By following these guidelines, your home should stay perfectly safe. Nonetheless, it’s wise to prepare your family for emergencies. Tell everyone living with you which signs indicate an electrical problem, then develop an evacuation plan in case of a fire or carbon monoxide leak.

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Find Des Moines Electrical Services

While it’s important to stay vigilant, there’s no reason to live in fear of electrocution or fire, especially with professionals nearby. Service Legends provides electrical repairs, installations, and inspections at an affordable price. Plus, we also offer multiple services under heating and cooling, plumbing, insulation, indoor air quality and so much more.

Contact us today to learn about our whole home electrical safety inspection!

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