1. Check the wattage of all lightbulbs.
- Are the bulbs the appropriate wattage for the size of the fixtures? A bulb that uses excessive wattage may overheat and cause a fire.
2. Check all lamp cords and extension cords.
- Are cords placed out of walking areas and free of furniture resting on them to avoid a tripping hazard and excessive wear?
- Are cords in good condition?
- Are cords unwrapped? Tightly wrapped cords can lead to overheating.
- Are extension cords being used only on a temporary basis? Extension cords are not as safe as permanent home wiring. Have outlets installed where they are needed.
3. Check all wall outlets and switches.
- Are all outlets and switches working properly and cool to the touch? Faulty or warm outlets or switches may indicate an unsafe wiring condition.
- Do you hear crackling, sizzling or buzzing from your outlets? If so, call a licensed electrician to identify the cause.
- Are all outlet and switch cover plates in good condition? Replace any missing, cracked or broken cover plates.
1. Check all countertop appliances.
- Are all appliance cords placed away from hot surfaces? Pay particular attention to cords around toasters, ovens and ranges.
- Are all appliances located away from the sink? Electrical appliances can cause a shock if they come into contact with water. Plug kitchen appliances into ground-fault circuit interrupter outlets.
2. Check all large appliances.
- Have you ever received even a slight shock from any of these appliances? If so, do not touch the appliance until it has been checked by an electrician.
- Is the area above the cooking range free of combustibles like potholders and dishcloths? Using the range for storage of flammable objects could result in fires or burns.
- Is there excessive vibration or movement when the washer or dryer is operating? Movement during operation can put undue stress on electrical connections.
1. Inspect space heaters.
- Are space heaters placed away from flammable items, such as drapes and newspapers?
- Are the heaters stable and placed where they will not be tipped over? Animals and even blowing drapes can cause space heaters to topple over, creating a fire hazard.
2. Ensure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area.
1. Check for ground-fault circuit interrupters.
- Are bathroom outlets protected by GFCIs? GFCIs should be installed in any areas where water and electricity may meet.
- If you have GFCIs, do you test them regularly?
2. Check small electrical products, such as hair dryers and clippers.
- Are they plugged in when not in use? Plugged-in electrical appliances (even when switched off) may result in an electric shock hazard if they fall into water.
1. Check your fuse or breaker box.
- Is your fuse box or circuit breaker box accurately labeled so you can easily identify which circuits are used for each room?
- Are you regularly resetting tripped breakers? Breakers that trip frequently may be a sign of overloaded circuits or other electrical hazards and warrant consulting a licensed electrician.
- Is your home protected by arc-fault circuit interrupters? AFCIs are safety devices that replace standard circuit breakers and greatly reduce the risk of home electrical fires. Consult a licensed electrician if you are interested in adding AFCI protection to your home.