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Outlet Rage

Outlet Rage

I’m angry, and I want to coin a new phrase to capture the essence of my rage like “road rage” or “air rage.” Maybe I should call my anger “who in their right mind designed this room with only one electrical outlet and why on Earth did they install a two-prong outlet rage”–or perhaps “outlet rage” for short.

I live in an older home that is somewhat electrically challenged. I have one outlet for my computer, monitor, phone, printer, scanner, two lamps and a fan, and I’m constantly switching back and forth depending on which devices I need to use.

Most of the electronic devices so essential to daily life weren’t even conceived 20 or 30 years ago, and homes simply didn’t need as many outlets as they do today. Does cramming all of today’s electronics into an older home designed for low electrical loads create a safety hazard?

There isn’t a black and white answer to this question. It depends on too many variables. It is clear, however, that electricity is a leading cause of fires in the home so here are some electrical safety tips that apply to all homes regardless of age:

• Never overload electrical outlets.
• Never cut off or bend the ground pin of a three-pronged plug.
• Replace all old, worn out, or damaged appliance cords.
• Don’t run extension cords through doorways or under the rug or carpet.
• Never touch anything electrical with wet hands.
• Install ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, garages and accessible outside decks and swimming pools.

You should also be on the alert for potential electrical hazards including:

• Easily or frequently blown circuit breakers or fuses.
• Flickering lights.
• That annoying electrical “buzzing” sound.
• Damaged wires or outlets.
• Any electrical sparking.
• Any electric shocks.
• Burning smell or unusual odor from outlets or other electronic devices.
• Discoloration of wall outlets.

If you are concerned about the wiring in your home or you witness any of the signs I listed, your best bet is to call a qualified electrician to investigate. When it comes to electricity, I’m a big believer in better safe than electrocuted.

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Andrew Peterson

Andrew Peterson is a Certified Industrial Hygienist with over 10 years of experience working in the environmental and occupational health field. In addition to writing, he is currently the Environment, Health and Safety Manager for a medium-sized company that has been voted one of Fortune Magazine’s Best Places to Work For and one of CRO Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens. He lives in California with his wife and adopted pound puppy.

7 comments

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10:32AM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

11:14PM PDT on Jun 1, 2012

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12:59PM PST on Nov 10, 2010

Thanks. Unfortunately I'm guilty of violating some of these safety tips.

2:41PM PST on Feb 13, 2010

A great post, circuit trip switches do have a probleme though. I have replaced just one light bulb since moving to my current address. All of the lights are energie efficient types, but in September, the light in the hallway blew. ALL of the lights And socket power switches were tripped. Had I had not been blessed with such brilliant night vision, I would have not been ables to switch on the power in order to change the bulb. Hyes, the circuit trips prevent you getting a nasty shock, but they do not stop you from stumbling over the armchair with a scoulding hot cup of tea splashing over your face.

1:23PM PST on Jan 27, 2009

"Load Rage", perhaps?

11:39AM PST on Nov 11, 2008

Do yourself a great favor and have some one who knows what they are doing wire your house for more outlets.It will be much more convenient and safer also.Give yourself that present for christmas and you will really like yourself,lol.You will probably have to get another service box also,and they aren't cheap,but it will be much better for you and your house.

6:38PM PDT on Aug 8, 2008

I have an old house too, and every time we turn on the microwave and toaster at the same time the circuit goes out! Thank the gods for power strips. Thank you for the list of warning signs, though, as I often worry about the safety of such an old electrical system.

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