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Electrical Outlets Childproofing and What You Need to Know About It

With the modern electrical outlets used in homes today, the chances of child electrocution are low therefore electrical outlets childproofing should be considered. According to data, there are around 2,400 children suffer from shocks and burns from sticking things in outlets. These shocks and burns can be serious or even deadly. This is why it is so important to take the necessary measures to childproof your electrical outlets. The good news is that several options are available to keep your small children safe.

Why is Electrical Outlets Childproofing Important?

Children are curious by nature, especially once they are mobile and start moving around. As they begin to crawl they come face-to-face with electrical wires and outlets. Their instinct is to poke and prod to learn more about what they are finding. The most common way children do this is by sticking something (be it a utensil or toy) into the opening of the outlet. This is one of the top causes of electrocution in children in addition to biting into electrical cords or sticking things into electric appliances.

Electric outlets have between 120-240 Volts of electricity. The degree of harm that comes from a shock caused by this voltage can vary depending on the length of contact. While sometimes there may be minor injuries or burns, it can be deadly. This is why you need to carefully look at your electrical outlets and choose the best childproofing option available for your family.

Electrical Outlets Childproofing Options

The good news is that there are several options available for childproofing electrical outlets. Each of these options has its own level of safety, with some being better than others.

Outlet Plugs

Outlet plugs are perhaps the most well-known childproofing option for outlets. These are simply plastic plugs that plug into the outlet. They keep small children and toddlers from inserting anything into the outlet and getting shocked. You want to make sure that you purchase plugs that are large enough that should a child find one they do not become a choking hazard. While plugs are the easiest thing to implement, you must be diligent about replacing them once you unplug your appliance.

Outlet Covers

If you’re worried you’ll forget to put the plugs back in, you may want to consider using outlet covers. Two different kinds of outlet covers are helpful for childproofing. Both of these covers require replacing the existing cover plate.

Sliding Outlet Covers

Sliding outlet covers have an interior outlet cover that automatically closes over the socket holes once something is unplugged. This type of cover eliminates any concern over choking hazards or your child getting the plug out on their own.

Box Outlet Covers

This type of outlet cover is good for those appliances that stay plugged in. These covers go over both the plugs and the outlet. They come in different sizes to cover both small and large outlets. Using a box outlet cover means that your child will not mess with the plug itself. However, if the outlet is needed, the cover can be easily removed by an adult.

GFCI Outlets

GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets do not prevent a child from sticking something inside the outlet like plugs or covers. However, they are designed to shut off the electrical circuit if it detects an imbalance. These outlets should be installed in areas where there is water, such as your kitchen and bathroom. It is important to test these outlets regularly (even monthly) to make sure they are still functioning correctly. If working correctly, GFCI outlets will reduce the amount of shock a child may get from sticking something in the outlet. It is advisable to use GFCI outlets in combination with plugs or covers.

Combination Switch Outlets

Another option to consider when electrical outlets childproofing is a combination switch outlet. These outlets often use a tamper-resistant receptacle in addition to a switch. The switch can be used to turn off the outlet. Meanwhile, the specific type of outlet helps reduce the risk of a child inserting something into the outlet.

Tamper Resistant Receptacles

Even if you don’t use a combination switch outlet, you can install tamper resistant receptacles or outlets. While these outlets look like other outlets in your home, they are equipped with small spring-loaded plates that close the openings on the outlet. To open them, pressure must be applied equally to both sides of the outlet. This works to minimize the chance of a child inserting something in the outlet.

Note: Tamper resistant receptacles do not completely remove the risk of electrical injuries. It is still possible that a small child could receive an electrical shock or burn if they try to insert a plug into the outlet. Additionally, the child could be injured by whatever they plug in such as an iron, curling iron, extension cord, etc.

Safety First

The bottom line is that you want your child to stay safe through. Each of the options available for electrical outlets childproofing has its own benefits and comes with its own risks. It is important to evaluate your habits and to pick the best childproofing option that will work for your family. If you need help getting your home ready for your little one, our team at WireCraft Electric can help you install the new outlets you need to keep your family safe. You can also reach out to us for any electrical outlet repair. Request a services here or give us a call today at 206-542-0208 to get started.

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Static Electricity, Its Dangers and How To Prevent Them

The Dangers of Static Electricity and Preventing It

Have you experienced getting jolted by a spark of electricity when you touched a door knob or hand rail? Today, we will talk about static electricity, the dangers of this common occurrence, and tips on how to protect yourself from injury or property damage.

What is Static Electricity?

In a scientific perspective, static happens when there’s an imbalance of charges between two objects. When two surfaces experience an electrical imbalance, only one of two reactions will occur:

  • The surfaces will repel each other, when they have the same charge.
  • The surfaces will attract each other, when they have opposing charges (positive and negative).

We generally witness static electricity in the following scenarios:

  • The hairs on your head stand when electrons from a hat transfer to your hair.
  • When you rub a balloon against a carpet of a piece of clothing, it will stick to the wall without any adhesives.

Why Is It Dangerous?

The danger of static electricity comes when the transfer of charge is so great that it creates a spark. One of the most common occurrences of static electricity dangers is refueling a vehicle. The driver may be carrying excess electrons, which may create a spark when you touch the fuel pump. Exposing the spark to volatile gasoline may create an unexpected combustion.

Another danger is static electrical shock. When an object builds up too much electrical charge with no means of release, you may get electrocuted as you touch the charged object.

Tips To Prevent Damage By Static Electricity

Here are some effective tips to make sure that risks caused by static electricity are minimized:

  • Avoid wearing rubber-soled footwear: Rubber is an excellent insulator, and so wearing rubber-soled shoes may create a significant amount of static in your body.
  • Apply grounding in your home appliances: Some of the devices in your house may collect static electricity over time, if there’s no way to discharge them. Make sure that your appliances have a grounding mechanism in order to release the excess static.
  • Ground yourself: If you think you may be carrying some static electricity, touch an inert metal object to discharge the electricity.
  • Keep indoor air humid: Dry air increases the risk of static electricity buildup in your home. The best way to address this is to keep the relative humidity above 30%. A humidifier may do the trick.
  • Keep skin moisturized: If your skin is dry, it has a higher likelihood of developing static electricity. You may apply lotion or moisturizer on your hands and skin.

Final Word

Static electricity may look like a small concern but disregarding the source of the problem may prove to become catastrophic. If you need help assessing the electrical safety of your home, don’t hesitate to call us at Wire Craft Electric. Our skilled professionals are on standby waiting to address your next electrical concern.

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3 Common Electrical Problems and How to Resolve Them

common electrical problems

After years of living in the same home, we may have a tendency to overlook things. This is a dangerous attitude, especially when we’re talking about electrical safety. Today, we will talk about three of the most common electrical issues around the house, and the strategies to resolve them.

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Common Home Electrical Panel Problems

common electrical panel problems

Electrical problems are pretty common and sometimes these problems can be easy to fix. We thought it would be nice to do a little run-down of the most common electrical panel problems. You can expect to experience these problems in your home and it’s always better to know this.

Keep an eye out for these five issues with your electrical panel.

Corrosion

Corrosion is probably the most common problem, and it ranges from very minimal to very excessive. Any source of moisture, such as humidity or even a steady dripping of water entering from a main service wire, can do a whole lot of serious damage to electric panels.

If you can eliminate all sources of moisture in your home, you will do yourself a big favor and will avoid corrosion altogether. Once corrosion gets bad enough, electrical connections become compromised. You’ll probably have to get wires and other parts repaired or replaced.

Double taps

The term “double tap” refers to multiple hot or physical wires that are physically connected to a single lug.

This is most common on breakers, and is usually done because there are no more slots in the panel to add any new circuits. The only other option is to “tap” into an existing circuit at the breaker’s connection . While this is not usually a serious concern, double tapping is contrary to proper installation.

Oversized breakers or fuses

We call this problem as “overfusing”. This condition occurs whenever a load-carrying wire is obviously undersized when compared to the rating of the fuse or breaker to which it is connected. This condition can be very serious and has the potential to burn down a house!

Improper bonding

Box bonding is the best type of bonding to have inside a panel, but not all panels have it. Generally speaking, a typical interior main electric panel should have some type of panel enclosure. Any sub panel that resides within the same structure should not have any type of bonding in place.

Bad or missing handle ties.

A handle tie is the device which physically connects the two separate breaker switches on a 2-pole breaker. Take note you should not replace this tie with just any item. Most often, these ties are missing altogether.

Sometimes these materials are like a nail or a short piece of wire. This is a huge hazard and can cause many electrical problems.

If you have any further questions on these issues, request Wire Craft to check your electrical panel. Check out our website and request a service!

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