Toddler starting to crawl around? Just purchased a home? There are a number of electrical safety upgrades you can make to your house to help prevent accidents and fires from occurring. With our San Jose Fire Department not meeting their response time goal 80% of the time due to budget cuts, it is up to you to ensure your home is as safe as possible. Here are five electrical safety upgrades you can do to protect your family and home.
Safety Upgrade #1: Instead of using removable outlet covers, a safer and more permanent solution is to replace all electrical outlets with tamper-resistant outlets. These tamper-resistant outlets feature built-in shutters that prevent access by most foreign objects. These provide a higher level of safety than the removable caps which can get lost and turn into a choking hazard, and you won’t need to remember to replace the removable outlet cover when the outlet is no longer in use.
Safety Upgrade #2: Another thing to watch out for are electrical cords hanging near the floor. A number of these household electrical cords are for table and floor lamps. When recessed lighting or other ceiling lights are installed you can remove the portable lamps so there is one less thing that can be pulled off a table or knocked over. Strategically installed dimmers can also help transform household lighting into night lights to eliminate tripping and ease a child’s fear of darkness.
Safety Upgrade #3: Ground fault circuit interrupter outlets (GFCIs) are important to have installed wherever outlets are located near water or in damp locations such as outdoors. If, for example, a blow dryer gets pushed into a tub or sink full of water with a baby in it or a blender tips into the kitchen sink, the outlet disconnects power quickly enough to prevent injury caused by these shocks. Without the GFCI-protecting the outlet, a lethal shock could occur.
Safety Upgrade #4: Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States and accounts for up to 700 emergency room visits in California each year. Dual carbon monoxide/smoke alarms help protect against this danger. California law requires these to be installed in every home and should be installed in every bedroom and living area. If your child sleeps in another room from you, these alarms can be interconnected so that an occurrence of smoke or carbon monoxide in one room will trip all the alarms in the system.
Safety Upgrade #5: I solved a tricky troubleshooting job in South San Jose about a year ago where there was no power in a bedroom. The problem was eventually found behind a switch in the next room over, just inches from a baby’s crib. If this issue had not been discovered and corrected, the burning wires and insulation inside the junction box could have started a house fire. This hazard could have been avoided by installing Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breakers to protect the living quarters of the home. California now requires AFCIs to be installed in newly-constructed homes. AFCIs prevent fires by detecting an unintended electrical arc and disconnects the power before the arc starts a fire.
If you have any questions or wish to schedule a free appointment to quote prices for any of these upgrades, please contact Willow Glen Electric today. Our trained staff and professional electricians are delighted to assist families by completing these safety upgrades and more!