Today, homes are more in need of whole home electrical surge protection than ever before. With the increasing use of technology and electronics, 80 percent of the electrical surges in a home are generated by people. Generators and appliances such as air conditioning units and washing machines introduce small surges into a home’s electrical lines. These surges build up over the years, degrading the performance of electronics and harming the electrical systems in your home.
Whole-home surge protection can be built into your home’s breaker panel. Appliances send power surges through the electrical lines to the breaker panel. A whole-home surge protection system can shunt most of the impact to protect everything else in the home.
Many homeowners find themselves regularly swapping plugs or using devices like a power strip or electrical surge protection device. While these can work in many situations, many make the mistake of relying on surge protectors power strip too much. Every year, thousands of home fires result from surge protectors, power strips, and electrical cords.
At Mister Sparky, we don’t want to see you caught up in an electrical emergency, so we’ve compiled a short list of electrical surge protection safety tips:
HOME ELECTRICAL SURGE PROTECTION DO’S AND DON’TS
Do only use power strips for light-load appliances (including computers, lamps, clocks).
Do use surge protectors or power strips that have an internal circuit breaker. These units will trip the breaker if the power strip is overloaded or shorted to prevent overheating.
Do use power strips sparingly. They aren’t designed to maintain a load for extended periods of time and can overheat if used too frequently.
Do use surge protectors or power strips that are UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories) approved. The UL or ETL label must never be removed from the unit. On the underside of the casing, there should be the manufacturer’s name and the name of the testing lab where the unit was tested.
Do visually inspect all surge protectors or power strips on a regular basis to ensure that they are not damaged or showing signs of degradation. During the visual inspection, ensure that the plug is fully engaged in their respective outlets.
Do unplug the surge protector or plug strip when the unit is not in use.
Don’t ever plug a surge protector or power strip into an existing surge protector or power strip. This practice is called “daisy-chaining” or “piggybacking” and can lead to serious electrical problems.
Don’t use surge protectors or power strips in moist areas. No kitchens, no utility rooms, no patios, and definitely no basements.
Don’t continue to use a surge protector or power strip if it feels hot. Remove and replace the unit.
Don’t cover a surge protector or power strip. Covering can smother the power strip and provide ample flammable material in the event of failure.
Don’t locate a surge protector or power strip in any area where the unit would be covered with carpet, furniture, or any other item that will limit or prevent air circulation.
Don’t staple, tack or nail a surge protector or power strip to anything. This can harm the cords and increase the risk of electrical fires.
Don’t use surge protectors, power strips, or extension cords as a substitute for permanent wiring.
Don’t use surge protectors or power strips that have a cord longer than 6 feet in length.
Don’t plug medical equipment into a surge protector or power strip unless it is approved for this purpose.
For more information on electrical safety and whole-home surge protection or to schedule an installation, contact Mister Sparky today!
Mister Sparky NWA honors Fire Prevention Week in October! Mister Sparky has been on a mission to educate the public on fire safety, including the proper use and maintenance of smoke detectors.
Your First Line of Defense
Your first line of defense for fire safety is taking proper precautions to avoid a fire in the first place. The top three causes of house fires include faulty electrical, whether that be faulty wiring in the home or poor use of plugs and extension cords. At Mister Sparky Electrician Northwest Arkansas, we offer home electrical inspections to ensure that the wiring in your house is up to code—it’s an inspection that can protect your family from potential house fire issues.
It’s also very important that you adhere to proper electrical safety. Running electrical wires under rugs and heavy furniture, as well as overloading plugs, can be a major fire hazard. Take a look at your electrical appliance cords. Are they loose? Frayed? Any of these issues can result in a house fire.
Smoke Detector Safety
If a house fire begins, your smoke detectors can mean the difference between life and death. Properly maintained smoke detectors will sound the moment smoke is detected in your home – giving you an instant head’s up to exit the home.
Because of the invaluable service smoke detectors provide, it is necessary that they are in optimal running condition. For this reason, it’s important that you replace the batteries in your detectors at least once a year. Also, smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years.
To determine how old a smoke detector is, remove the smoke detector from the wall and look at the back of the unit for a date of manufacture. The manufacture date determines how old a smoke detector is. So if yours is ten years old or older, it’s time to replace your smoke detector!
Mister Sparky Electrician Northwest Arkansas can inspect, test and install smoke detectors in your home, as well as perform home electrical inspections to make sure that your home is safe and up to code on all electrical wiring. So give us a call, we would be happy to ensure that your home is safe and free of any existing or potential electrical problems!