Electrical Outlet Dos and Don’tsDecember 17th, 2010 by Staff Writer
Practicing electrical outlet safety in your apartment will keep you and any children or pets safe from electrocution. It can also keep your apartment safe from electrical fire and damage. Remember the dos and don’ts when it comes to using the outlets in your apartment.
Do: Use Safety Covers on Outlets When Not in Use
Outfitting individual outlets with safety covers is especially important in apartments with children and pets as the outlets are at child- and pet-level and curious children and animals could get injured playing around with outlets. However, even if you don’t have children and pets in your household, you should use electrical outlet safety covers when the outlets are not in use. You should not leave electronics plugged in when not in use, as they use energy even when not in use; instead, cover them to keep dust, static electricity and spills out.
Don’t: Leave Outlets without Cover Plates
Even if you don’t think certain outlets in the apartment work, you should never leave outlets exposed without the cover plates in place. Cover plates are simple to replace, as most fit a standard size and require only two screws to keep in place. You can safely replace them yourself or ask your landlord to replace them if you moved in without any covers on the electrical outlet.
Do: Use Extension Cords Only Temporarily
You should not leave an electronic plugged in via an extension cord when the item is not in use, nor should you use more than one extension cord for the same item. Extension cords force the electrical current through greater distances and leave your apartment more vulnerable to electrical damage. If the cord frays or is pierced, you may get a shock.
Don’t: Use Electrical Appliances Near Water Sources
You should be especially careful in the bathroom not to use electrical appliances near water sources, as water coming into contact with electricity can cause electric shock. If you must use the appliance near a sink, make sure the sink is off and all surfaces are dry before proceeding.
Don’t: Rewire Outlets Yourself
Living in an apartment, you can and should always turn to your landlord when it comes to more intricate electrical outlet tasks, such as rewiring. If the outlets in your apartment aren’t up to code, your landlord is responsible for making sure the outlets are safe and working. If you experience problems with outlets, such as outlets that don’t work or outlets that give off excessive sparks when plugging in or removing a cord, talk to your landlord. She should send over a qualified electrician to repair the outlets.
Never take off the cover plate and attempt to rewire the electricity in the apartment yourself, as you could injure yourself and may be responsible for any damage you make to the apartment.
Practicing a few simple electrical outlet dos and don’ts can make living in your apartment safer. Be especially careful in old apartment buildings when it comes to outlets, as they’re more likely to malfunction than outlets in newer buildings.