As we begin the new year and prepare for spending more time than ever in our homes, you should consider how you can better improve your electrical safety. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 31,000 fires are caused by electrical problems every year, and many of them could have been avoided. You can better protect your home and your family by trying a few of these New Year’s resolutions for electrical safety. 

Don’t Overload Outlets

Your home is designed to meet a certain level of electricity usage, so plugging in another extension cord may not be the best idea. Overloading your outlets can cause a small explosion or fire. Instead, use a power strip that can safely distribute power, and bonus tip – search for an energy-saving power strip. 

Use the Recommended Wattage 

Always follow the instructions on electrical appliances. The safety warnings can help you know how to care for your devices, making them last longer, and keep you safe. One thing to check for on the instructions is the recommended wattage. On all your lamps, fixtures and appliances check for the recommended wattage so that you use the correct bulbs for the job. Using the right light bulb can reduce your energy usage and the risk of overheating or other electrical problems. 

Store Cords Safely

Any power cord should be treated with care, even when not in use. You should store power cords safely to prevent tangling, damage and to keep them away from small children or pets. If you have small children, you may want to install safety caps on electrical outlets and store cords out of their reach. Plus, always store your cords away from water, which conducts electricity, and protect outlets from liquids as well. 

Keep Exhaust Fans Clean

Appliances like many fridges and washers and dryers have exhaust fans that can clog with dirt, lint, or other debris. You should clean the exhaust fans on appliances regularly to prevent overheating or an electrical fire hazard. Cleaning these can also extend the life of the appliance. Specifically, check your dryer lint trap and exhaust hose. You can use a vacuum to clean up excess debris, and you may want a flashlight to see behind large appliances. 

Unplug Unused Appliances

If you’re not using an appliance you can conserve energy and have more electrical safety by simply unplugging it. This can protect devices from overheating or power surges. New technology like smart plugs allows you to schedule when power flows to each outlet. 

Every year, an unfortunate number of households experience tragic electrical fires that cause property damage, injury, or even death. Since most people are also spending more time at home now, the risk of overusing power increases. Choosing one of these New Year’s resolutions for electrical safety can help you conserve energy, make your appliances last longer and protect your family into the New Year.