Mistakes You May Be Making That Compromise Your Electrical Safety

Although you may be a very electrically enlightened homeowner, even the best of us make mistakes from time to time. Unfortunately, when you're making electrical mistakes, your safety can be very easily compromised. Make sure your home isn't in danger of an electrical disaster by avoiding these potential electrical mistakes.  


Did you know that electricians have a term for putting the wrong light bulb in your light fixture or lamp? It's called overlamping. You can tell which light bulbs are safe in your light fixture by reading the label (usually a small sticker somewhere on the fixture), which will tell you not to put in bulbs that are over a certain wattage. That's not because the manufacturer doesn't want your home to be well-lit; it's because overloading a light fixture is unsafe. The fixture is designed to deal with bulbs of a certain wattage, and higher-wattage bulbs will draw more current and potentially cause overheating or other problems.  

Extension cords

Okay, extension cords aren't necessarily a mistake, but the way they're often used is definitely unsafe. If you're using an extension cord because you don't have enough wall sockets or if you're leaving things plugged into it unattended, your extension cord is no longer safe. 

Another common mistake with extension cords is leaving them unprotected across walkways. If you need an extension cord to go across a walkway, simply use a rubber cover to protect it from being mashed by shoes (or tripping people inadvertently). Extension cords that are overloaded or damaged can malfunction and start to arc or spark, potentially causing a fire in some cases.  

Overloading circuits

Overloading your wall outlets is more likely to cause a circuit to flip than it is to actually damage your extension cord, but it's still unsafe. If you do it repeatedly, it can damage your wiring, or if your circuit breaker malfunctions one of the times you overload the circuit, you could end up with an electrical fire. In addition to using too many extension cords, you can also overload outlets by using power strips and plugging in too many things at once.  

These common mistakes are quite well-known, and many people realize at some level that they're not following best practice (for example, when the light fixture says right there on the label that you're doing it wrong, you probably realize there must be a reason even if you don't know what it is). But now that you know what these mistakes are and how they can compromise your electrical safety, leaving you open to a disastrous fire, you may be more careful about not letting anyone you know make these mistakes.  

For more information and help with electrical problems, contact electrical contractors in your area, such as those at R & R Electric Co Inc.