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It’s a good idea to check your home periodically for all kinds of accidents-waiting-to-happen, especially when electricity is involved. Start with a self-audit of your home, something you should turn into an annual ritual. Here’s where to start: 

  • Check that all of your appliances are still in working order by turning them on and off, listening to the sound of the motor (is it “normal?”) and inspecting their cords and plugs for damage.
  • If you have young children at home, plug wall outlets with child-safety caps.
  • Replace appliances whose cords are frayed or worn. You can’t fix those.
  • Resolve to buy new appliances that have the thumbs-up from an independent testing laboratory like Underwriters Laboratories.
  • Choose light bulbs with the correct wattage for each lamp and overhead light fixture. You’ll find the maximum safe wattage imprinted on the fixture.
  • Get those electrical cords out from under your carpets! Covering cords can cause them to overheat and start a fire.
  • Don’t overload your circuits. Plugging too many cords into a power strip and plugging that into a single outlet can overburden a circuit and cause it to overheat.
  • Put your extension cords away. They’re not meant for everyday use. Install waterproof covers on your outdoor outlets.

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