4 Bad Household Habits That Can Lead To an Electrical Fire or Shock

Even if your household electrical system is in relatively good condition, you and/or your family members may engage in some common bad habits that put your home at risk for an electrical fire and/or at risk for electrical shock. 

Read on to learn about four bad household habits that can lead to an electrical fire or shock and their safer alternatives. 

1. Misuse of Extension Cords 

Like many homeowners, you may have extension cords that you use to provide power to appliances with shorter power cords. While extension cords do come in handy from time to time, they must be used properly to reduce the risk of overheating that can cause a fire. 

First, never plug in an appliance that requires more power than the cord is rated for. Every extension cord has a tag or label that states how many watts of power it can safely supply an electronic device plugged into it. If the appliance requires more energy than the extension cord is rated to provide, then the cord can overheat and cause a fire. 

Also, never cover an extension cord that is in use with a carpet or any other material. An extension cord that is hidden under a carpet can develop dangerous damage over time that is not visible to the family. 

Also, examine all extension cords used in the household on a regular basis to check for damage, such as an exposed wire that could send electricity to nearby flammable materials and start an electrical fire. 

2. Touching Appliances with Wet Hands

While you likely know that you should always keep electrical appliances away from water due to the risk of electric shock that occurs when electricity and water mix, you may engage in some habits that mix water and electricity without even realizing it. One common habit that many people think is harmless is touching electrical devices and appliances with wet hands. 

While it may sound surprising, touching electrical appliances with wet hands can lead to electric shock.

To keep your family safe, make sure everyone in your household knows that they should dry their hands before touching any electrical device in the home. 

3. Outlet Overloading or Piggybacking 

Another bad habit many homeowners engage in is the overloading of power outlets. While overloading can occur when just two devices that require more amperage than the outlet is rated to supply are plugged in, overloading more commonly occurs when power strips are plugged into power outlets or outlet piggybacking is performed.

Piggybacking is performed by supplying power to a new electrical outlet by connecting it to another instead of connecting it to the main electrical panel. 

If the circuit breaker does not shut off power to an overloaded outlet or the outlet is not connected to one, the wiring supplying power to the outlet can overheat, melt its insulation, and start a house fire. 

If you find that you need to overload outlets to power all of your household appliances and electronic gadgets, then have a licensed electrician install more electrical outlets in your home that can power these devices more safely. 

4. Leaving Long Cords Where They Can Be Tripped On

While you should never hide electrical cords underneath carpets where they can become damaged, you should also avoid leaving long cords exposed where they can easily be tripped on. When you have to extend the cord of an electronic device across a room to connect it to a power outlet, attach the cord to a wall with a cord keeper. Cord keepers protect cords from damage while keeping them firmly attached to areas of the home where they cannot be tripped on. 

Avoid engaging in these four bad habits that can potentially put your family in danger of electrocution and/or put your home at risk for the development of an electrical fire. Contact an electrician experienced with residential electrical system upgrades for installation of new outlets or other electrical upgrades that can help keep your family safe.