To help prevent electrical hazards from arising in your home, consider using these safety devices. In some cases professional installation by a licensed electrician is required in order to ensure that the device is installed properly and safely.
Surge Protector Power Bar
This type of power bar is designed to protect electrical devices from power surges by limiting the amount of electricity supplied to appliances. Not all power bars are equipped with surge protectors, so be sure to check when buying a power bar.
A surge arrester is designed to protect all wiring in your home from a power surge. Surge arresters are installed in your electrical panel and limit the amount of electricity flowing to all outlets and appliances throughout your home.
Tamper Resistant Outlet
These outlets have shutters that prevent objects from being easily inserted into the slots. The shutters open when a plug is being inserted, but remain closed at all other times. Installing a tamper resistant outlet is wise in any home, but is also a key element of child-proofing a home.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
A GFCI is a type of outlet that should be installed in areas where appliances are likely to come into contact with water. They are commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoors. You can recognize GFCIs by the “Reset” and “Test” buttons located on the outlet plate. GFCIs monitor the electricity flowing in a circuit to sense any loss of current. If a loss of current, or an imbalance between the hot and neutral conductors, is detected the GFCI trips the circuit, cutting off power to the appliance.
GFCIs should be tested at least once a month to ensure that they are working properly. To test your GFCI, follow these steps:
- Plug a nightlight, or similar device, into your GFCI
- Press the “test” button on the outlet plate. The nightlight should turn off.
- Press the “reset” button. The nightlight should turn back on.
- If the nightlight does not turn off when you press the “test” button, your GFCI is not working, and will not trip the circuit in hazardous situations. Contact a licensed electrician to get the problem fixed as soon as possible.
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)
An AFCI is a type of circuit breaker that is designed to detect and prevent electrical arcs in wiring and appliances. Electricity arcs occur in damaged wires, and can cause fires. An AFCI monitors the flow of electricity throughout a circuit. If it detects a dangerous arc, it will trip the circuit, cutting off power and preventing the electricity arc.