With so much electricity funneling through our breaker boxes through the rest of your home to your outlets and switches, it is important that the home owner not only knows how to use a breaker box, but also how to do so safely. The breaker box houses a panel of breakers and fuses that protect the wires inside your house from electrical overload.

In a recent study, the National Fire Protection Association estimated 1,350 home fires involved the circuit breaker panel. Many could have been prevented with the installation of arc fault circuited interrupters (AFCIs). AFCIs are installed directly in the breaker box and are designed to protect against fires caused by arcing faults in home electrical wiring. AFCIs detect arcing in the electrical system and switch the electricity off.

It is important to note that AFCIs do not provide protection against all of the possible circuit faults that can cause fires, but they are a significant step forward in electrical fire safety. Contact a qualified electrician to have them installed.

Occasionally we come across reasons making it necessary to cut off or switch on the power at the breaker box. If you must flip a switch at the break box, always remember to step away and look away. You want to protect your eyes and body just in case an arc should occur.

Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. If you touch the breaker box while standing in water, it could cause electric shock or death. If you cannot reach your breaker box safety, call your electric utility to shut off power at the meter.

Be sure to call a qualified electrician if blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers are a recurring problem. This means there is something wrong with your electrical system, and it needs to be inspected by an expert who can locate the problem.