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.