Electricity plays many roles in our lives, from powering baby monitors, cell phones and lighting, to running HVAC systems and appliances. No wonder we get so comfortable with its instant availability that when we flip a switch, we expect most systems or devices to do the job.
GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTERS: Outdoor outlets or those in potentially damp locations in a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room often include GFCI features. They are designed to sense abnormal current flows, breaking the circuit to prevent potential electric shocks from devices plugged into the outlets. The average GFCI outlet is designed to last about ten years, but in areas prone to electrical storms or power surges they can wear out in five years or less. Check them frequently by pressing the red test button. Make sure you hit the black reset button when done. Contact a licensed electrician to replace any failing GFCI outlets.
LOOSE OR DAMAGED OUTLETS OR SWITCHES: Unstable electrical outlets or wall switches with signs of heat damage or discoloration can offer early warnings of potential shock or electrical fire hazards. Loose connections can allow electrical current arcing. If you see these warning signs, it may be time to contact an electrician.
SURGE PROTECTORS: Power strips with surge protectors can help safeguard expensive equipment like televisions, home entertainment systems and computer components from power spikes. After a surge or spike, however, you could be left with a basic pow-er strip. Some surge protectors include indicator lights that flicker to warn you when they’ve stopped working as designed, but many do not. If your electrical system takes a major hit, or if you don’t remember when you bought your surge protector, replacement may be the best option.
EXTENSION CORDS: Remember, extension cords are designed for temporary, occasional or periodic use. If an extension cord gets noticeably warm when in use, it could be undersized for the intend-ed use. If it shows any signs of frayed, cracked or heat-damaged insulation, it should be replaced. If the grounding prong is missing, crimped or loose, a grounded cord will not provide the protection designed into its performance. And always make sure that extension cords used in outdoor or potentially damp locations are rated for exterior use.
Electricity is a necessity for modern living, and your cooperative is committed to providing safe, reliable, and affordable power to our members. We hope you’ll keep these electrical safety tips in mind so you can note any potential hazards before damage occurs.