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Electrical safety around the home

To most of us, electricity is simply flicking a switch or turning a dial to light up a room, cook supper or get instant entertainment.

We take it for granted — that is, until there’s a power failure and we have to scramble to find flashlights, candles and matches in the dark.

Making your home safe and comfortable takes a deeper understanding. Let’s start by remembering that the electricity we receive in our homes is part of a powerful, intricate system made up of power lines and generators. It generally enters our homes through power lines to a main switch at 120 to 240 volts. The main switch is clearly marked with an “on” and “off” position and controls all the power in the house.

All lighting or general use circuits in a home are protected by either “circuit breakers” in newer homes or fuses in older ones. You should always disconnect the power by moving the main switch to the “off” position when changing fuses or doing electrical work around the house. Never open the door of the main switch — if you sense something is wrong, call your electricity supplier.

The panel box or fuse box from the main switch is the one that splits the power into circuits that go into all the rooms in your home. If you overload a circuit, say by plugging too many things in, the fuse may blow or the circuit breaker may trip, stopping the flow of power to that particular area.

In the basement

If you’re looking for the breaker panels or fuse boxes in a home, you’ll usually find them in the basement. They require little if any maintenance. Fuse boxes require the right type and size of fuses. Overloading circuits could cause power loss, or even lead to a fire.

If you detect rust in the fuse box, or if a fuse repeatedly blows for no apparent reason, if there is overheating, discoloration of fuses or flickering lights, contact an electrician to solve the problem.

Fuse changing

Use a flashlight if the area where the fuse box is located is dark.

Never change a fuse while standing on a wet floor.

Unplug appliances on the overloaded circuit and turn off the main switch.

Install the proper size fuse–most lighting and general use circuits are fused at 15 amps.

Keep the fuse box or breaker panel cover closed to protect children and prevent dirt from accumulating.

Look after your cords

Pull the plug when removing from electrical outlet. Pulling on the cord will wear it out and may create a shock hazard.

Keep cords away from heat and water, which can damage the insulation and create a shock hazard.

Never run electrical cords under rugs, through doorways or anywhere subject to excessive wear. This may lead to a fire hazard.

Never break off the third prong on a plug so it can fit into a two-prong outlet. This will create a shock hazard.

Regularly inspect all cords and plugs. To avoid fire, short circuits or shocks, discard all cords and plugs that are worn ordamaged.

Trust, integrity, honesty and education; This is the framework of Sutton Team Realty Inc.


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