As the spring season approaches, many will usher in the warmer weather by thoroughly cleaning their homes and tending to yard work. The Electrical Safety Foundation (ESFI) recommends homeowners ensure that electrical hazards are eliminated along with unwanted dust and clutter.

ESFI suggests starting with the basement, an important, but often overlooked space when it comes to home inspection and fire safety. These low-level rooms contain two leading causes of home fires—heating equipment and electrical distribution systems.

  • Check the label inside the door or cover of your electrical service panel to see when your electrical system was last inspected. If the date has passed or is approaching, contact a licensed, qualified electrician to schedule an inspection.
  • Be sure circuit breakers and fuses are correctly labeled with their amperage and their corresponding rooms, circuits or outlets. Use correct size and current rating for breakers/fuses.
  • Increase your fire protection by having a licensed electrician replace your standard circuit breakers with arc fault circuit interrupters – AFCIs.
  • Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually by a licensed professional.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment, such as furnaces, stoves, and fireplaces, is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Check for excessive vibration or movement when the washing machine or dryer is operating. This can put stress on electrical connections.
  • Make sure the area around your dryer is clutter free and that the dryer lint filter is cleaned after each load. Build up can be a fire starter.
  • Don’t overlook your basement when it comes to smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. These devices should be installed in these spaces as well as on every level of your home and outside every sleeping area.  These alarms should be tested regularly to ensure that they are in working order, and replace the batteries when needed.

Visit www.esfi.org for more tips on keeping your home and family safe this spring and beyond.

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