Saving energy is likely a priority for your household, and there are plenty of strategies that you and your family can follow to minimize monthly consumption of electricity. Make sure not to forget to consider electrical safety when making your home more efficient, as maintenance lapses in this regard are responsible for more than 51,000 home fires and hundreds of electrocutions each year, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation.
Fortunately, there is plenty of overlap between electrical safety solutions and efficiency fixes. It’s easier to identify those opportunities by envisioning safety and energy efficiency at a single project. If you and your family start plugging away at electrical maintenance now, your home could be considerably more efficient.
The following tips are a great place to start when plotting out a set of weekend projects that help keep your power bills under control while also protecting your family from the dangers of haphazard wiring.
Update aging electrical appliances
Old appliances can have fraying wires, worn components and overheating issues. All of these factors can increase risk factors for electrocutions and fires occurring in the home.
Likewise, the same signs indicate that an appliance is running significantly less efficiently than designed. These issues become even more problematic when appliances fall into disrepair or do not receive routine maintenance over an extended period of time. Thankfully, both issues can be addressed with the same solutions.
First, remember that scheduling timely repairs and service will go a long way toward ensuring your appliances run efficiently and without risk of an accident. Second, if you’re interested in limiting energy waste even further, then consider upgrading your appliance completely with a new, Energy Star certified products. In addition to helping you save money on your monthly bill, you can feel confident that a new appliance will operate safely for several years. This peace of mind and relative safety may be well worth the cost of your next appliance upgrade.
Consolidate massive webs of extension cords
If your family room is a mess of wires that runs under, over and behind pieces of furniture, there are probably steps you can take to make your home more energy-friendly and lessen the risk of an electrical fire.
The quickest way to improve electrical safety in a room with several crisscrossing wires is to consolidate your setup, according to the Public Broadcasting Service. Swapping out multiple extension cords for a single power strip, for example, will make it less likely for family members to trip while also ensuring that your outlets do not get overloaded and become a drain on energy efficiency.
When purchasing power strips, be sure to invest in one with a surge protector to further limit the chances of a house fire. By using this safety principle to manage the number of active outlets in your home, your family will naturally begin to use appliances and electricity less frequently.
It also pays to be aware of energy vampires, which are appliances that continue to drain electricity even when they are turned off. Corralling these appliances to their own surge protector makes it easy to cut off these low-key energy wasters at the source.
Investigate wiring issues when lights begin to flicker
While flickering lights may seem to be, at worst, a little ominous, the phenomenon should also alert family members to the possibility of electrical issues occurring in the home.
Popular Mechanics noted that loose wire splices, worn light fixtures and other deterioration of electrical systems are responsible for inconsistent power flow, an electrical hazard that can also waste energy.
Flickering lights indicate that the home’s wiring setup may be in need of rapid repair. Having an electrician offer solutions as soon as the issue begins will help protect your household and family from wasted energy or possibly an electrical fire due to wiring failure in the future.
Prepare for weather to limit electrical dangers and risks to the home
Weather damage is unpredictable, but you can prepare for the worst by making sure your home is always in good repair. Even small fixes around the home can make a big difference when bad weather makes electrical safety and efficiency more difficult. For instance, forgetting to clean dry leaves from a gutter or yard could serve as kindling if strong storm winds damage nearby electrical wires.
Damaged wiring can pose an even greater risk to your home if the maintenance issue is compounded by indoor flooding. The best way to prevent a small wiring issue from turning into a huge problem is to dedicate some time to scheduled home improvement and maintenance.
Get in touch with a local contractor to in your area to perform efficiency checkups on your home’s wiring. Working with a professional will make it easier to both identify problem areas and help you brainstorm new strategies to save energy.
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Originally published 09/08/18. Last updated 12/18/18.