Residential Safety Checklist

Read these quick checks you can make in your home today to help make it more electrically safe:

  • Appliances: If one appliance repeatedly blows a fuse or trips a circuit breaker, or if it has emitted an electrical shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.
  • Circuit Breakers-Fuses: Circuit Breakers and fuses should be the correct sizes for the circuits. If you do not know the correct size fuse, have a licensed electrical contractor identify and label the sizes to be used. Never replace a fuse with anything but the correct fuse.
  • Cords: Make sure cords are in good condition- not frayed or cracked. Make sure they are placed out of traffic areas. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to the wall, baseboard or to another object and they should not have any furniture resting on them.
  • Entertainment and Computer Equipment: Check to see that the equipment is in good condition and working properly; look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs and connectors.
  • Extension Cords: Check to see that the cords are not overheated. Additionally, extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis; they are not safe as permanent household wiring.
  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI's): GFCI's can prevent electrocutions. They should be used in any area where water and electricity may come into contact. Test GFCI's regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions to make sure they are working properly.
  • Light Bulbs: Check the wattage of all bulbs in lighting fixtures to make sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended; if you don't know the correct wattage, check with the product manufacturer. Make sure bulbs are crewed in securely; loose bulbs may overheat.
  • Outlets: Check for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs, which can overhear and lead to fire. Replace any broken wall plates. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.
  • Plugs: Make sure the proper type plug is in each outlet. If you are using three-prong plugs in a room with two-conductor outlets, do not cut off the ground pin (the third bottom prong) form the plug. This could lead to an electrical shock hazard. A better solution is to use a two-prong adapter. Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn't fit. This could lead to fire or shock. Plugs should fit securely into outlets and should not be overloaded.
  • Water and Electricity Don't Mix: Don't place any electrical appliances near water; i.e, a sink or a bathtub. Appliances that are used near water should be unplugged when not in use. If you have an appliance that has gotten wet, unplug it and don't use in until it has been checked by a qualified repair person.

Remember: Wiring in no hobby! Consult a licensed member of the NJSCECA for all your electrical needs.