How do I work with electricity safely at home?
Staying safe while working with electricity is not only about using the proper electrical tools and equipment for the job, but it’s also about knowing all the risk factors involved. So if you don’t want get hurt while doing your own wiring, then here are some essential safety tips for you:
This one is such a no brainer that even kids learn it just by watching their cartoons: never ever work with electricity and water at the same time. It increases the conductivity of the electric current, so you may get electrocuted. You don’t want to end up burned to a crisp like in those said cartoons.
Since you will be using your hands most especially when dealing with electrical work, then you must absolutely always keep them dry. But sometimes you sweat and you can’t help it; especially since most wiring is in places without air-conditioning and you need to exert a lot of physical effort. Thus, you must always use the proper gloves – ones with rubber insulation – for any electrical work you do; even when you’re using the proper electrical tools and equipment. Speaking of the proper tools:
What makes electrical tools and equipment different from the rest is that these have insulated handles. Since insulation stops the conduction of electric currents, you can actually use these tools with bare hands without the risk of getting electrocuted. That is given that you never ever touch an uninsulated part of the tool. However, anything can happen so it’s still best to use rubber insulated gloves while working with electricity.
From the potential electrical hazards you will face, energized parts that are exposed is among them as well as unguarded electrical tools and equipment, as the latter could be energized unexpectedly. Luckily, these said parts and tools usually have a “Shock Risk” warning sign. Always be wary when you see such signs.
It is also best not to use tools with shock risk. If you don’t have a set of electrical tools and equipment yet, then avoid buying the ones with these warning signs. But if you do have them, then it’s best to dispose of them and buy a newer, safer set.
Measurements are important. Especially when you feel like your equipment is broken, you must always use an electrical tester. This piece of equipment is something you use to see if an electric current is flowing through a wire or metal object. Of course, for absolute safety, you must never work on wires or objects that are energized. Cut off the power to them first. However, you must still check on these with a tester before touching them at all; even with the right gloves and electrical tools and equipment.
When you need to reach a high place for your wiring, never ever use an aluminum or steel ladder. It’s very possible that an electrical surge will flow through the whole ladder. This will ground you and cause the whole electric current to flow through your body as well. This could lead to your death.
Instead, use a bamboo, wooden, or fiberglass ladder.
If you don’t know what a GFCI is, then what are you doing trying to do your own electrical repairs?!
But for the sake of education, it is a residual current device and it stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. These have become very common in the home since it helps to avoid electric shock hazards. It does this by disconnecting the power when situations get too dangerous. Because of this function, it’s mostly found in its damp areas, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry area. Thus, this must always be working properly to ensure no one dies will taking a shower. So you must check on this at least once every month.
Another device that makes sure no one dies is the circuit breaker. As the name implies, it’s something that breaks the flow of a circuit when there is short circuit or over current. That’s why your home must have a proper one.
This must also be used with the proper fuse. A good rule of thumb is to use a fuse with 50% more amperes than the circuit. So if a circuit has 20 amperes, then the fuse must be 30. This give enough allowance and the fuse won’t blow out.
While underground cables do have a degree of durability to them, the doesn’t mean that you’re free to use sharp objects near them. For example, using a spade to dig down could potentially damage the wires if contact is made.
That said, dig with your hands instead, Use rubber insulated gloves to protect yourself and you should be good to go. (This is to keep you from possible electrocution as damp soil is a conductor of electricity.)
Capacitors are made to hold charges, so it makes sense to discharge them first before handling them; they could shock you otherwise.To do this for low voltage capacitors, place the tip of two insulated screw drivers on the capacitors terminals after removing it. For the high voltage one, you can do the same thing but with a 12v light bulb. This will light up to use the stored energy.
Dealing with electricity shouldn’t be too difficult a task as long as you follow these tips. Not only will these keep you safe, but they’ll also keep you alive.
If you want to learn more about how your electrical wiring plays a big part in your home, then check out our post on how faulty wiring can contribute to a bigger bill.