VIDEO: Why You Should Never Stick a Knife in the Toaster (and 10 Other Electrical Safety Tips)
You know it’s dangerous to stick a knife in the toaster … right? Some 400 people per year in the U.S. are electrocuted — and an oddly high number of those incidents are toaster-related. That’s in addition to more than 50,000 electrical fires each year in the U.S., resulting in 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries and well over a billion in property damage.
Shocking as these statistics may be, most tragedies involving your home’s electrical system are avoidable.
- Avoid overloading outlets.
- Unplug appliances when not in use.
- Regularly inspect electrical cords and extension cords for damage.
- Only use extension cords on a temporary basis — and never to power space heaters, fans or major appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves and microwaves, which should be plugged directly into a wall.
- Never run cords under rugs, carpets, doors or windows.
- Only use one heat-producing appliance — such as a coffee maker, blow dryer or curling iron — at a time.
- Make sure you use proper wattage for lamps and lighting fixtures.
- Have arc-fault circuit interrupters — or AFCIs — installed in your home to shut off electricity when a potentially dangerous electrical arc is detected in your home’s wiring.
- Install GFCIs — ground-fault circuit interrupters — to reduce the risk of shock from outlets inside the home prone to wetness (such as bathrooms, kitchens, garages and basements) and on all outdoor outlets.
- Prevent electrical injuries to children by covering all outlets, making sure all wires are properly tucked away from reach — and be aware of small appliance hazards around bathtubs or pools.
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Call a professional electrician asap to inspect your home’s electrical system if you notice:
- Frequent blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers
- A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
- Discolored or warm wall outlets
- A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
- Flickering or dimming lights
- Sparks from an outlet
In the meantime, if your toast gets stuck, be sure to unplug the toaster and let it cool off, and then turn the appliance upside-down and shake your toast out over the plate — or just pop it out with the handy lever most toasters are equipped with these days.
Watch the video below for electrical-safety tips from our partners at HomeServe:
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