Electrical 101: Prevent Fires and Save Money on Utility Bills
Written by Burt Sims.
Every homeowner should have a working knowledge of electricity—not only for safety, but also to save money on utility bills. For those who love to DIY, it may be tempting to dig into electrical work. While some jobs can be done on your own, the majority of electrical work should be taken care of by a professional.
Use this resource as a guide for how to prevent electrical fires in your home, how to save money on electricity, and how to know what jobs should never be done on your own. If you’re keen on DIY, be sure to get the right protective gear from Black Box Safety.
Before you get started on your own electrical projects, be sure to learn as much as you can about fire prevention. Electrical fires can be caused by faulty wiring, so learn some ways to guard your home against an accidental fire.
One easy way to prevent an electrical fire is by unplugging heat-producing appliances when not in use. When accidentally left on, hair straighteners, irons, and electric kettles could easily become fire hazards.
Be sure to keep an eye on all your appliance electrical cords; if you see any discoloration, breaks, or melted sections, that’s a sign of a problem. When you buy a new appliance, read through the instruction manual so you don’t risk misuse that could lead to a malfunctioning appliance.
How to save money on your electric bill
There are plenty of benefits to curbing your electricity usage: not only will you save money, but you’ll also start to reduce your carbon footprint.
One way to reduce consumption is by opting to use your dishwasher instead of handwashing dishes. While your dishwasher will use some electricity, it consumes less water and electricity than handwashing. Just be sure to turn off the heated drying function if you really want to save on energy.
As Cielo explains, air conditioners are significant energy drains, so if you have a ceiling fan, use that instead of turning down the thermostat. Other tips include switching out your old lightbulbs to more efficient LED lighting, keeping the oven door closed while you’re cooking to keep the heat in, and using smaller appliances where possible to consume less energy.
Electrical work: DIY or hire a pro?
Some homeowners love the challenge of fixing problems in their home. While this is fine for a bedroom renovation, Your Home Headquarters points out that due to the risk involved, electrical work is usually best left to a professional. It may seem easy to switch a light fixture out or replace a ceiling fan, but if you get the wiring wrong, you may have an electrical fire waiting to happen. You also expose yourself to the risk of electrocution when you take on wiring by yourself—damaged or exposed wires can easily produce a shock.
If you live in an area prone to blackouts due to storms or a weak electrical grid, it’s a good idea to buy a generator as a back-up option for power.
Portable generators can be handy, but installing a permanent generator will make it easier to regain power if there’s an outage. Not only is it convenient, but it also can serve as a safety precaution—especially if you live in extremely cold environments. It’s a good idea to hire a professional to install permanent emergency generators. While the cost varies depending on the generator you choose and where you live, the average estimate for installation is $4,459.
Learning the basics about electricity is important, both for your safety and to save money on power. Prevent electrical fires by unplugging heat-producing appliances, and be sure to keep an eye on power cords and outlets to ensure there’s no damage that could
indicate a problem. Know when it’s time to hire a professional, and consider getting a generator if you live in an area prone to black-outs.
When it comes to safety and protection, turn to Black Box Safety for information and equipment.
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