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Front Page - Friday, September 27, 2019

Practice electrical safety at home

When someone says the word “safety,” we usually think of defending ourselves against someone who means us harm. But as Realtor Safety Month ends, I think it’s important to think of safety inside the home – specifically electrical safety.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International reports the leading cause of home fires is electrical mishaps. Certain habits of homeowners might be putting their homes and themselves at risk.

It’s impossible to think of all the ways electricity has made our lives easier – and it’s easy to take electricity for granted. But there are still risks associated with electricity, no matter how familiar we are with it.

A recent article in Apartment Therapy asked electricians to chime in with the most dangerous things they see homeowners doing that could be putting their homes at risk. Here’s what they said:

Using adapters on two-prong outlets

Three-prong outlets didn’t become standard in North American homes until the late 1960s, so while modern homes should be in good shape, there are plenty of homes out there with old two-prong outlets, Mark Dawson, chief operating officer at Mister Sparky, told Apartment Therapy.

Many new appliances use three prongs, so owners might use an adapter to plug it in, but electricians warn against it. Instead, you should consider upgrading the outlet if you need three-prong plugs.

Using loose electrical outlets

Electricians say plugging something into a loose electrical outlet can cause a fire and be dangerous to others. If the cord falls out easily, then the blades inside the outlet have become loose and can now generate a lot of heat.

Using the wrong cords outside

Make sure your extension cord is rated for outdoor use; otherwise, it could overheat and potentially cause a fire, electricians say.

Check extension cords for letters. A “W” means it can be used outdoors; an “S” means the cord is rated to be used inside the home only.

Overloading a circuit

Look for signs that you might be overloading your circuit, such as blinking or dimming lights, frequently tripped circuit breakers, discolored outlet covers and even buzzing sounds near outlets.

If you suspect an overloaded circuit, contact a licensed electrician to evalute whether you need to upgrade your panel.

Overlooking ground fault circuits

All outlets in the bathroom and kitchen should be equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters. These will shut off the power when they sense water nearby. That could avoid an electrical shock and save someone’s life.

Safety should always a priority, but inside your own home is a great place to start.

Realtors are focused on protecting our clients and their properties. That’s Who We R.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423 698-8001.