Wherever electrical appliances, lighting fixtures, wiring and outlets are located, indoors or outdoors, caution must be exercised in testing, repairing or replacing them.
Faulty house wiring, broken or frayed cords, damaged sockets and switches are dangerous. If you have any doubts about their efficiency and safety, replace them at once!
Never undertake any electrical repair in the house without first shutting off the electrical current. If you know which fuse controls the line on which you plan to work, remove that fuse. Take it out of the fuse box; just don’t unscrew it part of the way. It is best to put the fuse away somewhere removed from the fuse box and to hang a note on the fuse box to warn anyone that electrical work is being done and not to put a fuse in on the line. If you don’t know which fuse controls the line, pull the master switch.
Of course the protective devices in circuit breaker boxes cannot be removed like a fuse. To work on a branch circuit from a circuit breaker box, trip the breaker switch to off and place a sign on the box to warn others against turning it on.
Fires often occur through overheating of wires which are carrying too much current. Therefore do not use too many appliances on any one line or plug them into one outlet by using a multiple extension cord.
Remember: the blowing of a fuse is a sign-a warning that your circuit is carrying too much current. It may only be a temporary overload, but even a momentary overload is sufficient to blow a fuse. If your fuse blows, play it safe-examine the load the line is carrying.
Above all, never replace a fuse with one of a higher rating just because it blows frequently. The higher rated fuse will not provide the protection against overheated wires; you will only be kidding yourself. Therein lies the advantage of circuit breaker boxes, now required in most communities for new home construction-you cannot substitute a higher rating breaker.
If your hands are wet, don’t touch any appliance. The same goes if you’re standing on a wet spot. This is especially true in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room. All handles on an appliance should be covered with insulating material (generally plastic) and not left as an exposed metal part.
Don’t use long cords all around the room. Add extra outlets if you need them. Cords stretched around the room are potential fire hazards, particularly dangerous if run under a carpet or rug. The long wires are also dangerous for toddlers.
If you use a portable extension cord with a light attached to it, whether it be in the garage or basement or in the workshop, keep the light away from anything combustible, like paper or a thin curtain. A wire “cage” should always be used around the bulb, for accident prevention.
Do not buy or use electrical appliances that do not have the UL label on them. UL stands for Underwriters’ Laboratories, a fire and shock hazard testing laboratory which serves industry. Be sure the label is on the appliance. The UL label on the cord applies only to the cord, not the appliance.