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Spring cleaning inside and outside

Now is the perfect time to check for electrical hazards around your home 

Indoor electrical safety 

Move extension cords out of high-traffic areas to avoid a tripping hazard. Inspect cords, plugs and outlets to ensure they are in good working condition. Damaged or worn cables can turn into a fire or electrocution hazard. Have an electrical professional update outlets or install ground fault circuit interrupters. 

Replace incandescent lights with energy-efficient LEDs or CFLs. Make sure to use the recommended bulb and wattage in fixtures to prevent fires. You must use dimmable bulbs in a dimmer application. 

To help prevent home fires, clean appliances of buildup food debris, oil and dust. For a stove exhaust hood, turn off power and clean the hood and remove the filter; use a degreaser on any exposed surfaces. Once a year, clear lint from your dryer exhaust pipe and duct. 

Make it a point to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke detectors should be installed outside of all rooms. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every floor, including the basement, and placed on the ceiling or a minimum of 5 feet high on walls. Carbon monoxide detectors should be 15–20 feet from gas-powered home equipment including stoves, dryers and furnaces and 10 feet from attached garages. 

Annually vacuum detector covers, gently with a soft brush. Verify the battery and the manufacturer date. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every 10 years or per manufacturer’s instructions. 

Outdoor electrical safety 

Always call 811 a minimum of two full business days prior to digging—whether you are installing a mailbox, fence, or shrubs or trees. Utility experts will come to mark buried wires, piping or gas, and water mains. Dig at least 2 feet away from the flags used for marking. 

If you’re using a ladder to trim trees or clear out gutters, always look up and out and stay 10 feet away from power lines. 

Inspect power tools and outdoor appliances before using them. The long winter months could have left some wear and tear, and the risk of electrical dangers is too high to avoid taking a few minutes to check for a frayed cord. 

When working outdoors, keep electrical cords and tools away from water, even wet grass. Remember water and electricity do not mix! 

Above all, continue to practice good electrical safety year-round.

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